By Emeka Aginam
The penetration of mobile instant messaging platforms such as Whatsapp, Black Berry Messenger (BBM), Palmchat, 2go, among others in Nigeria’s social media ecosystem has no doubt increased appreciably.
But despite this deep penetration, Short Message Service (SMS), also known as ‘text message’ and the oldest instant messaging platform, still remains relevant.
Reasons: While the other instant messaging platforms run only on smart phones and are internet-enabled, SMS requires no internet and as such it runs on both smart and non-smart phones.
While smart phone usage in Nigeria is on the increase by April, 2015, global Personal Computer (PC) firm, Lenovo revealed that the Smartphone penetration in Nigeria had reached the 30 percent mark, thus making Nigeria one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world, with Android being the most widely used operating system in Nigeria.
Data available from StatCounter appears to support Lenovo’s finding. According to the data, Android usage increased by about 19 per cent within a year from 10.95% in August 2013 to 29.94% in August 2014; and it is still growing.
Similarly, statistics from the Monthly Subscriber Data of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the country’s telecom regulatory authority, puts Nigeria’s tele-density at 100.59 per cent as of the end of January 2015, with active lines/phone numbers on the telecommunications operators’ networks reaching 140,822,483 and 146 million as at April 2015.
With such a massive subscription base, coupled with the increasing usage of Android smart phones, and directive by the NCC that all mobile network operators should charge a flat rate of N4 per SMS to other Nigerian networks, one can conclude that SMS no doubt, a viable and effective medium for reaching a large number of Nigerians with various messages at a cheap rate.
However available statistics show that, spam messages account for 15 per cent of all SMS messages sent globally, representing 1.2 trillion spam messages each year.
The implication of this is that vast majority of mobile subscribers, most of who fall within the category of smart phone users, are now at the mercies of marketing outfits and even fraudsters who reach out to their targets via the SMS.
This development has continued to worry both the subscribers and the regulatory agencies. Every second for instance, mobile subscribers in Nigeria are bombarded with text messages that are of little or no interest to them from their network provider.
Thus spam SMS has become a matter of serious concern to subscribers looking for possible solution to get a way with it.
But with the latest app from Truecaller, a leading search technology company, there are positive signals that telecoms subscriber will have a relief .
In what seems like a response to these yearnings, recently launched Truemessenger, a revolutionary app which aims to take care of spam and make the SMS experience smarter and more social.
Speaking about the new App and its unique functions, Alan Mamedi, CEO& Co-founder of Truecaller explained that the introduction was necessitated by the urgent need to tackle the menace which spam messages have become to mobile network subscribers not just in Nigeria but all over the world.
Mamedi said, “We are at a crossroads of sorts, in terms of spam messages we receive on our mobile phones, and despite the evolution of services in other areas, little has been done to curb the number of spam messages we receive on a daily basis. Truemessenger aims to attacks this problem head-on by using a combined power of our global community with information from your own personal networks so you’ll never again have to worry about anonymous numbers.”
One of the unique features of the Truemessenger App is its ability to filter and block spam SMS by tapping into a vibrant community of more than 150 million members who help protect one another from annoying intrusions.
Explaining how the App functions, Mamedi said that Truemessenger organizes the inbox, puts a name to a number, and seamlessly blocks and filters spam SMS messages. It automatically checks incoming messages against the user’s contact list for pre-existing contact information and adds the name of the sender instead of showing the phone number. Thus mobile phone users now have the option of avoiding messages from unwanted numbers and contacts.
Another unique feature of the Truemessenger app is its ability to enable mobile phone users to establish SMS spam rules, a function that was only available on the email and filters spam out of inbox or totally block it thereby keeping the inbox clean. It also has the ability to pull information from social networks and automatically assigns photos, nicknames and other contact information to incoming text messages.
Interested mobile users can now download the Truemessenger on their Android, the only platform where it can run at the moment, from the Google App store for free. According to the owners Truemessenger is complementary to the Truecaller and Truedialer apps. But while the Truedialer is available for free on Android and Windows Phone, the Truecaller can be downloaded for free on popular platforms including Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Tizen and Nokia feature phones.