Technology

April 11, 2024

Inside Opera’s free data campaign on Opera Mini

Inside Opera’s free data campaign on Opera Mini

By Rasheed Sobowale

On April 8th, Opera announced that users of its popular Opera Mini mobile browser in Nigeria benefitted from 3.76 terabytes worth of free data in 2023 – a figure that equates to about N5 billion.

With the company having hit such a milestone, it’s a good time to take a deeper dive into how and why the company made that happen, and what advantages Opera Mini brings to Nigerian users.

Opera and the Digital Divide

Opera has long worked to bring more people online across Africa. Back in 2017, the company pledged to invest over $100M to support digitalization across the continent – a promise that it has already made good on. Free data campaigns – which, to date, have benefitted over 40 million users in six countries – have been a key cog of that promise.

They allow users access to up to 1.5GB of free data each month when browsing with Opera Mini on a partnered telco network, such as Airtel or Safaricom.

The purpose has been to bridge the digital divide, which, though improving, is still a challenging situation for mobile users in Nigeria and other African countries. Nigeria has a total population of over 220 million, but only 103 million Nigerians have access to the internet. This means that the internet penetration rate of the most populous black nation is only 45.5 percent.

This is partly due to the unaffordability of the internet in the country. Vanguard had earlier reported that “Nigerians have to work 2 hours 59 minutes 15 seconds a month to afford mobile internet. This is 11 times more than in Luxembourg, which has the world’s most affordable mobile internet. Luxembourgers have to work 16 minutes a month to afford it.”

The current state of the economy seems not to be alleviating the issue as inflation bites harder. For instance, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reported that internet subscribers were reduced by over 99,000 in one month.

Tailored-for-the-market solutions

Opera Mini was designed to address the issue of high data costs prevalent in Africa. Rather than ship an already existing, data-demanding platform, the company listened to the needs of mobile users across the continent and created a market-specific solution. On top of free data campaigns, Opera Mini features unique data compression technology that reduces data usage by up to 90 percent. Simply put, 1.5GB can last up to 10 times longer on Opera Mini than when using other browsers.

In addition to data-saving capabilities and campaigns, the browser also comes with features designed to appeal to the wants and needs of African users. One such example is a built-in Live Scores feature, which enables users to follow over 8,000 teams from around the world, including global favorites from the Premier League, Champions League, and beyond.

With a live scoreboard and Live Match Alerts, football fans can always stay updated regarding kickoff times, goals, red cards, penalties, and the full-time result.

Opera has also been sensitive to the fact that many African users share a device, meaning privacy is an even more acute issue.

Responding to the 97% of users in Nigeria alone who requested enhanced privacy features, the company recently released an update to Opera Mini that comes with Private Downloads. That means all downloads go in a PIN-protected folder, ensuring that users’ personal documents and media remain private.

Opera Mini is therefore best positioned to deliver a more personal, private, and cost-saving browsing experience for its users, in addition to daily free data.

The browser company has pledged that its Opera Mini will continue to be co-shaped by its users, responding to what they value most.

Download Opera Mini and experience faster, more affordable internet.