Upstream’s Zero-D up for a Global Mobile Award at MWC Barcelona 2020
‘Tech4Good - Best Mobile Innovation for Emerging Markets’ accreditation for ad-funded mobile internet service keeping over 250m people in developing world connected
London, January 28th, 2020 - 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. A panel of more than 250 independent judges from across the world comprised of leading industry experts, analysts, journalists and academics, have selected Upstream’s Zero-D for making mobile internet access available to 250 million consumers without data in emerging markets.
“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 services like healthcare, education and access to news 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 some 50 per cent of the time. Zero-D tackles that problem directly allowing consumers to continue to access 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. “What makes it sustainable is that it is designed so that everyone benefits, at the same time as contributing something positive to the world. 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. Firstly, they are able to generate advertising revenue when they would otherwise receive no income from users who would not or could not purchase their next top-up. Zero-D offers a new engagement channel allowing the operators to communicate directly with their customers, expedites data upselling opportunities and at the same time safeguards users from fraud. Moreover, operators can increase their retention rates and customer loyalty and at the same time enhance their corporate responsibility profile.
“On the journey to intelligent connectivity we applaud the organisations that work tirelessly to ensure that no one gets left behind”, GSMA notes regarding the Tech4Good GLOMO Awards category. John Hoffman, CEO, GSMA Ltd, said: “The GLOMO Awards provide a world stage on which to celebrate the most inspirational and innovative developments across our industry, recognising the companies and individuals leading the way in everything from 5G & intelligent Connectivity to emerging market innovation and diversity in tech. The awards attract a significant level of high-quality entries, so being nominated today is a great achievement. We wish everyone the very best of luck and we look forward to some exciting announcements at MWC Barcelona 2020.”
Upstream will be showcasing Zero-D in MWC Barcelona 2020 in Hall 5, stand 5B20. The presentation of the GLOMO awards takes place during the MWC Barcelona the world’s largest and leading mobile industry event held annually in Barcelona (from 24 February – 27 February 2020). The ceremony will be held on Tuesday, the 25th of February.
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