A recent report by global digital agencies, We Are Social and Hootsuite,found that with the exception of a few countries, WhatsApp was easily the most popular mobile communications service in Africa – and has been key to driving internet uptake in Africa. In Zimbabwe, the app was responsible for about half of all internet data last year – Bridget Fishleigh
I used to be an avid user of WhatsApp myself but, like many users, I realized that it wasn’t great for everything… my main problems are:
· You need people to have WhatsApp installed on their phone to be able to call you. I know older people who want to dial the old-fashioned way even if they have to pay for it.
· I travel a lot for work. When people call me on my regular number when I’m travelling in Africa I used to dread how much each call would cost me.
· However, it was even more annoying when people couldn’t connect with me at all on my regular number as my mobile operator doesn’t have roaming agreements with operators in many African, European and other countries.
· Finally, some people think it’s unprofessional to use WhatsApp for business or work calls. They think it’s intrusive and inappropriate.
Luckily for me, and others who share my frustrations, Kirusa has recently launched ReachMe, a hybrid OTT voice app. ReachMe combines the best features of OTT apps whilst enabling people to still use traditional telco services such as calling, SMS and voicemails. These services are delivered over data networks rather than cellular.
It’s very easy to link your regular number to ReachMe to start benefiting from ReachMe’s main differentiator which is that it doesn’t require both caller and recipient to have the app to connect. People can continue to ring your regular mobile number – and they won’t know or indeed care that you’re receiving the call in an app as the experience – and cost – is the same for them.
This enables you to receive calls to your regular mobile number when you are connected to a data network wherever you are in the world without it costing you anything.
This is great for travelers who want to be able to answer calls whilst they’re away – but are worried about how much roaming charges are.
It’s also useful for when you are in an area with a good wifi service but limited cellular service.
And, if you’re not online when someone calls, they can leave you a voicemail.
For people who use multiple SIMs and phones, all calls to all numbers – local and international – can be linked to the app to you don’t have to carry multiple phones around.
If, like me, you’re looking for a way to fill in the gaps in WhatsApp and other voice OTT app, then Kirusa’s ReachMe app can be downloaded here or from Google Play and the Apple App Store.