Displaying items by tag: Youth

Etisalat to launch youth SIM in response to Virgin Mobile UAE

Written on Monday, 11 September 2017 10:54

Etisalat is launching a new youth-targeted SIM in the UAE called Swyp in an apparent effort to compete with the launch of the Virgin Mobile brand by du’s parent company EITC. The Swyp prepaid mobile service hasn’t officially launched yet, but the brand’s website is up and running and the apps have been uploaded to the app stores.

In an interesting twist, the Swyp service will only be available for customers aged between 15 and 29 at the time of subscribing and must present a valid Emirates ID card for proof of age. It seems Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat is eager to attract millennial mobile users who might be tempted to join Virgin Mobile UAE due to its flexible payment structure.

Etisalat’s Swyp service offers 5GB of social data for AED 50 per month and users can purchase add-on packages such as 500MB of data for AED 25, 1GB of data for AED 50, 2GB of data for AED 100, 4GB of data for AED 150, and 1GB Instagram and Snapchat package for AED 12. So far the service has been advertized on social media sites that attract youth such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.

Swyp SIMs will be delivered directly to millennials who sign up, or they can be purchased from one of Etisalat’s stores at Dubai Mall, Downtown, Burj Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Burjuman, City Centre Deira, Festival, City Mall, Ibn Battuta and Mercato Shopping Mall. Virgin Mobile UAE SIMs can also be delivered directly to customers after purchase “within an hour”, according to Product Manager Juraj Cangar.

Virgin Mobile UAE is unique in the sense that it doesn't require customers to visit a physical store. Everything to do with your mobile plan is done through the app that was built by the Virgin Mobile UAE team. To join, you can simply download the app, register your details, and then choose your monthly plan.

Vodafone UK also recently launched a youth-focused service called VOXI, a mobile offering for people aged 25 and under, that enables them to “use their phones the way they want to,” the company said. The VOXI SIM, available from 8 September, lets users indulge in selected social and chat apps (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter and Viber) as much as they like, without affecting their data allowance.

Similarly, Etisalat’s Swyp offering targets data over voice calls to attract youth who live their lives through social media. The Swyp SIM card charges 0.6 fils per second for local voice calls, 18 fils per local SMS, 60 fils per international SMS, 45 fils per local MMS of 50KB, and AED 1.80 for international MMS of 50KB.

Published in Telecom Operators

Vodafone UK launches first youth dedicated mobile offering

Written on Sunday, 10 September 2017 10:14

Vodafone UK has launched VOXI, a new mobile offering for people aged 25 and under, that enables them to “use their phones the way they want to,” the company said. The VOXI brand, products, customer experience and marketing have all be co-created with Vodafone’s audience. The VOXI offering is powered by Vodafone’s network.

The VOXI SIM, available from 8 September, lets users indulge in selected social and chat apps (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter and Viber) as much as they like, without affecting their data allowance.

The offering is seen as “flexible and affordable” giving users the freedom to use their phone in Europe with no extra cost, and no contract or credit check required.

VOXI users get unlimited data on social and chat apps while roaming in the Europe Zone, but outside the zone, standard roaming charges apply. The company said it will also soon introduce the ability for users to access video and music apps as much as they like without using their data allowance.

“Why should young people make do with the same mobile plans as everyone else, when they use their phones differently and often can’t access the best deals?” said Dan Lambrou, Head of VOXI.

“We’ve worked with hundreds of people aged 25 and under, and have really listened to them. They are a generation that’s tired of being stereotyped and talked at. We created VOXI, a transparent new mobile service that gives our audience a platform to connect to the things that matter to them, whatever they’re into,” Lambrou added.

To ensure VOXI is relevant to its youth audience, Vodafone said the content on its marketing channels will be created by a community of young artists, filmmakers and designers from across the UK.  

“They will showcase their diverse passions, talents and experiences across the entire VOXI marketing campaign – from social posts through to live events – reflecting the things our audience really cares about,” the company said in a release.  

“Vodafone has been working hard to understand the specific needs of our customers. We know today’s young generation use their phones in a completely different way, with social media at the very centre of their lives,” said Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffrey. “They want services that put their needs first.

“VOXI gives young people just that: access to the content and channels they love, simple and cost-effective price plans, and a mobile network they can count on,” Jeffrey added.

The company said VOXI may intervene in extreme situations if usage adversely impacts the service for other customers, or if someone is using the service fraudulently, or for commercial purposes.

The cost of providing unlimited use of the social media and chat apps is included in all VOXI plans, the company said, and users are free to opt-in or opt-out of their plan at any time.

Published in Telecom Operators

Youth are driving the online era

Written on Sunday, 10 September 2017 05:56

In 104 countries around the world, more than 80 percent of the youth population is online, according to ITU’s 2017 Facts and Figures report. In developed countries, 94 percent of young people aged 15-24 use the internet compared with 67 percent in developing counties and only 30 percent in least developed countries. Yet, sub-Saharan Africa remains the fastest growing mobile market.

Youth are at the forefront of internet adoption. The proportion of young people aged 15-24 using the internet (71 percent) is significantly higher than the proportion of the total population using the internet (48 percent). Young people represent almost one-fourth of the total number of individuals using the internet worldwide, according to ITU. In less developed countries, 25 percent of individuals using the internet are aged 15-24, compared with 13 percent in developed countries.

The potential of youth hasn’t gone unnoticed in developing regions such as Africa. Alphabet-owned Google aims to train 10 million people in Africa in online skills over the next five years, Alphabet’s Chief Executive, Larry Page, said in July this year, in an effort to make them more employable. A spokesperson said the company aims to train 100,000 software developers in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Google’s recent pledge is an extension of an initiative launched in April 2016 to train African youths in digital skills. In March the company said it had reached its initial target of training one million young people. At a Google conference in Nigeria’s capital Lagos, Google chief executive, Sundar Pichai said the company “is committing to prepare another 10 million people for jobs of the future in the next five years.”

There were 420 million mobile subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 2016, equivalent to a penetration rate of 43 percent, according to GSMA Intelligence. The region continues to grow more rapidly than any other, at a compound annual growth rate of 6.1 percent through 2020, which is around 50 percent higher than the global average. As for broadband connections, sub-Saharan Africa will reach half a billion by 2020, more than double the number at the end of 2016, and will account for nearly two thirds of total connections in the region.

The Middle East’s youthful population is also driving internet adoption. GGC countries have some of the world’s highest mobile broadband penetration rates, according to Cisco, with the UAE leading the Middle East and Africa at 89 percent, ranking number 11 globally. A study conducted by researcher Ahmad bin Ali Al Amoudi revealed that 91.4 percent of Saudi Arabia’s youth population browse the internet on their mobile phones.

Emphasizing the importance of youth in the UAE, telecom provider du announced the launch of its Youth Council in August 2017, as part of the International Youth Day Celebration across the country. The Council is specifically created to empower UAE youth and enhance their contribution towards the nation’s development through ICT and the enormous potential the sector holds. It’s a platform that will enable youth to “unlock their career potential”.  

The move is aligned with the vision of the UAE’s leadership to empower and enhance the role of young Emiratis in the overall development process that is taking place across all sectors in the country. du said its Youth Council will provide an environment that listens to ideas and ensures that these ideas are brought to the organization, reinforce the role of youth, and support their engagement within the company.

“The UAE leadership has always looked to galvanize Emirati youth through initiatives aimed at developing the next generation of UAE leaders by encouraging their personal and professional development,” said Osman Sultan, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du). “At du, we continue to focus on unlocking the potential of our future leaders of tomorrow, and we are looking at new ways to innovate and add value for the next generation of Emirati ICT trailblazers.”

This vision is shared by Smart Dubai, an initiative anchored in the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the happiest city on earth. Younus Al Nasser, Assistant Director-General of the initiative and CEO of Dubai Data, says young generations “are our key towards unlocking this transformation, by bringing their smart innovations and utilizing their technologies.”

Through the internet, he says, students have so much more resources at their fingertips to contribute to the development of their nation than their predecessors. Al Nasser said: “We are only an enabler, by providing youth with all the tools needed to connect their cities. But they are the ones who need to decide what they want next.”

Mobile a key platform for youth

Mobile is a key platform for youth. Mobile broadband, for instance, is more affordable than fixed-broadband services in most developing countries, according to ITU. However, prices can often get in the way of expansion, since mobile broadband prices represent more than 5 percent gross national income (GNI) per capita in the least developed countries and are therefore unaffordable for the large majority of the population.

Nevertheless, sub-Saharan Africa will transition to higher levels of mobile engagement in the coming years, according to GSMA Intelligence, underpinned by growing access to mobile data services and smart devices, and particularly because of its youthful population that almost entirely relies on mobile for digital services.

Consequently, mobile has become the preferred platform for creating, distributing and consuming digital content and services, including those that help address various social challenges in the region.

Opportunities in mobile-based innovation are attracting talent and investment to the technology start-up ecosystem in sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA Intelligence says. In fact, some 77 technology start-ups across the region raised just over $366.8 million in funding in 2016, growth of 33 percent compared to the previous year. Mobile operators also play an important role in the movement through collaborative ventures with innovators and tech hubs, providing direct investments.

The region is tempting for technology companies to invest in, with its rapid population growth, and heavy adoption of mobile phones. But countries like Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, which Google plans to target for its mobile developer training, may not offer as much opportunity as the likes of China and India for technology companies.

India has one of the youngest populations in the world, with about 65 percent of its population under the age of 35, according to Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports, Shri Vijay Goel, who expects that this demographic dividend will provide a great opportunity for the country to revolutionize itself and achieve its vision of a cleaner and more skilled nation. Goel organized the National Youth Festival in January this year under the theme of ‘Youth for Digital India’.

Mobile technologies and services generated 5.2 percent of Asia Pacific’s GDP in 2016, a contribution that amounted to around $1.3 trillion of economic value, GSMA Intelligence indicates. Mobile operators are working to help students and teachers in Asia to integrate mobile technologies into the classroom, the research says, enhancing access to greater learning opportunities for youth in urban hubs and remote locations.

In Myanmar, for instance, a country where only 54 percent of secondary school children are enrolled at school, a public-private venture dubbed Connect To Learn aims to improve access to the internet, deliver teacher training and enable students to experience a 21st century education. Some 21,000 students are expected to benefit in the first two years of the program, of which more than half are girls.

There is a strong link between gender parity in the enrollment ratio in tertiary education and gender parity in internet use according to ITU. The only region where a higher percentage of women than men are using the internet is America, where countries also score highly on gender parity in tertiary education.

Published in Featured