Delhi-based One97 and Tanzanian Tigo bring audio story portals for mobile phones across Africa

This is a quest to reach the unreached through the internet in laser targeted way.

Tigo/Millicom’s mission is to enable new customers in emerging markets who want to shop or explore online to leapfrog a digital lifestyle journey that has taken consumers in Europe and the US almost 20 year.

Millicom International Cellular owns Tigo and is one of the biggest investors in Rocket Internet‘s South American and African Internet holding companies with stakes between 20 and 35%.

As part of Tigo’s mission, the company is partnering with One97 Communications Ltd, India’s leading mobile internet company, to bring the novelty of mobile audio to the corners of Africa.

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The newly-launched audio story portals offer users the option of listening to immersive stories on-the-go. The company says collection of audio books has been carefully curated to offer stories with a wide appeal across age groups. Ranging from kids’ stories, fictional tales to aspirational accounts, there is something for everyone. These stories, locally-written and voiced by African talent have been recorded in One97 Communications’ own studios based in Africa.

The audio stories will be refreshed every week. And the platform on which the audio stories are hosted remembers the user’s language preference and even the point at which he/she last left a particular story.

“With the launch of the audio story portal, Tigo will be able to build greater affinity with its customer base and nurture long-lasting relationships across markets in Africa. The state-of-the art audio content platform is sure to be a hit among Tigo’s wide user base,”says Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO, One97 Communications.  “At One97 Communications, we are consistently striving to innovate and customize our offerings for various telecom operators and their customers.”

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Tigo’s Tanzania Head of marketing Diego Pacheco said, “Tigo is extremely pleased to have collaborated with One97 Communications for this project. They are known for their wide and large deployment of telecom application cloud platform and expertise in delivering mobile content which they have ably demonstrated with this initiative.”

Tailor made to suit low tech environment

We’ve seen such approaches work well for a few players; case in point are Carbury, Uniliver & Pepsi. Uniliver was able to reach about 350 million villagers across several panchayats (village level local governing bodies) in India. While providing people of rural areas a dose of entertainment, they also add mix of product ad plug.  Considering the similarity of on-ground realities in these two geographies (India & Africa), this could work big time.

According to One97, “The enriching and stimulating audio story portals present a perfect blend of traditional modes of entertainment with latest technological advancements.”

Pacheco from Tigo adds, “We are committed to providing and supporting innovative products with the ultimate goal of realizing a digital lifestyle among our customers.  Our entertainment content, communications and data platforms are thus tailored to enhance the customer experience continuously. The same holds true for our new innovative story portals launched in partnership with One97 Communications.”

The audio story portals are currently available in multiple countries in Africa. Tigo telecom users across Tanzania, Rwanda and Senegal can dial into the portal and listen to their favorite stories via their phones on-demand.



About the author

Everything startups, tech, entrepreneurship, and the intersection of India & Africa. You can reach him via emmanuel[at]

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