Since the start of the pandemic, Boomplay, a music streaming app owned by Shenzhen-based mobile phone manufacturer Transsion Holdings, has given away an estimated $1,610,000 of free data to listeners to keep them engaged.
Sub-saharan Africa is home to the world’s most expensive data prices, with Equatorial Guinea closing in at an average $49.67 for 1GB of mobile data. Amid COVID-19, citizens around the world have lost jobs and are more cash crunched than ever. Spending money on streaming is a low priority for many.
Reducing direct data costs to consumers may be the recipe for success in Africa’s music streaming market.
Kenya-born music streaming app Mdundo operates with a similar business model. Mudundo was launched in 2013 with the goal of providing music streaming services across Africa.
Though the app does not directly subsidise data costs, it does allow users to download tracks for free offering the flexibility to connect to open Wifi networks in cafes and restaurants instead of using precious purchased data bundles. China-funded data compression app Opera Mini has recognized Mdundo’s potential, partnering with the app in 2019 and offering users the ability to share downloaded songs for free via Opera Mini’s file sharing feature at no additional data costs.
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