Leading mobile technology company, Upstream, has been shortlisted for a prestigious Global Mobile Award (GLOMO) from the GSMA at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. Upstream’s Zero-D has been selected for making mobile internet access available to 250 million consumers without data in emerging markets.
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Zero-D has been shortlisted for a 2019 GLOMO Award in the category: Tech 4 Good, Best Mobile Innovation In Emerging Markets (Photo: Business Wire)
“In many countries in the developing world,” said Upstream Chief Product & Strategy Officer, Kostas Kastanis, “a mobile phone is the only way for people to connect to the internet. In countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, reading the news online can cost around one third of an entire family’s income. Essential online services are out of reach much of the time.”
Running out of data and not being able to top-up means that the two billion mobile users in the developing world are usually disconnected for 50% of the time. Zero-D tackles that problem directly allowing consumers to continue accessing the internet even if they have zero-credit balance on their prepaid mobile phone accounts that dominate in the emerging markets. In partnership with mobile operators Zero-D offers free internet access via a portal funded entirely by advertising. Within the portal, users have unlimited access to a search engine, a localized and global news service, and a messaging platform, with functionalities tailored to the mobile operator’s specifications.
“Zero-D is as much a mission for us, as it is a business,” said Kastanis. “We are proud that the judges of the GLOMOs 2020 have recognised that we are already making a tangible everyday difference to a huge number of people’s lives.”
Addressing a market of 250 million users, Zero-D has already been deployed in African and South American markets. The benefits to the partner mobile operators are multiple as they are able to generate advertising revenue, they acquire a new engagement channel to communicate directly with their customers, can expedite data upselling opportunities and safeguards their users from fraud.
Upstream will be showcasing Zero-D in MWC Barcelona 2020 in Hall 5, stand 5B20.