Tanzania’s leading telecommunication company, Tigo, has announced free WhatsApp services for its 10 million users.
WhatsApp is a sister application to Facebook, the social network that Tigo partnered with in 2014 to become the first telecom in Tanzania to give its customers free Facebook access in Kiswahili, the country’s national language also widely spoken in east, central and southern African countries.
Making the announcement in Dar es Salaam Diego Gutierrez said all Tigo customers subscribing to the company’s weekly and monthly internet will be entitled to free WhatsApp service.
“From now onwards, all Tigo customers buying any of our weekly or monthly packages will be eligible to enjoy FREE WhatsApp. This of course, is for customers with data enabled devices. We want to encourage our non-smartphone user customers to acquire highly discounted smartphones sold in Tigo shops to be able to enjoy this new offer,” Gutierrez said.
The general manager further clarified that the service will be available on iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Nokia Symbian60-phones.
With an excess of 1 billion users globally, WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messaging application that enables users to exchange media, texts, video clips and voice calls.
The free Tigo WhatsApp joins a long list of other ‘firsts’ that the company has pioneered in its digital innovations. They include the recent launch of 4G LTE networks that gives Tigo customers high speed internet connection which is five times higher than the technology available in the Tanzanian market.
Tigo in 2014 also became the first telecom in Tanzania to provide free Facebook in Kiswahili Kiswahili ; the first to launch a mobile money App for Adroid and iOs users and the first in East Africa to introduce cross-border money transfer with currency conversion.
In the past three years the company has launched over 500 network sites bringing to over 2,000 the total number of its network sites countrywide. It plans to double this investment by 2017 in terms of coverage and additional capacity networks for deeper penetration in rural areas.
Tigo in 2015 announced an increased annual investment of US $ 120 million per year on infrastructure improvement and expansion which is 20% higher than Tigo’s annual spending in the past three years.