The #datafree movement – Moya Messenger

South Africans have always been plagued by expensive data costs, especially on mobile networks. Some of us older folk recall the days when we had our first cellphone in 1998 and one SMS cost R2,75. We would make sure every character counted. But, what we didn’t know was that to send that SMS cost a fraction of the R2,75 we were paying.

While I usually write about online jobs and digital recruitment, this topic is very related, not only due to things like SMS job alerts, but because finding a job is very often a harrowing experience data-wise for job seekers, especially on mobile.

In fact, most of us only woke up to the cost of sending messages when we installed and read up about WhatsApp. We probably realised at that point, that if sending a message in text actually only consumes so little data, how much does an SMS cost the mobile network operators (MNOs)? The answer is less than R0,01.

Enter Moya Messenger, a “#datafree app” created by a team from Oz called biNu. They have created a few free data apps already, hinging off MNO white label services which allow certain channels to be used datafree. Recall any of the MNOs offering datafree usage of certain apps or websites? biNu uses that same service.

The app only seems available on Android currently, but the company is now also offering a Moya mobile network partner SIM. That said, Moya Messenger uses none of your mobile data (bundle or any type of data) when you use the app on a MTN, Vodacom, Cell C or Telkom SIM card in South Africa.

The biNu team is looking into offering free job alerts using the Adzuna API, which lists all online jobs in South Africa and pays affiliate partners for clicks to those jobs.

Although my favourite messenger is still Telegram, there is a data cost, and Moya Messenger is totally free for texting (attachments do cost some data). This means we have effectively gone from R2,75 to R0,00 in around 20 years. Who knows, perhaps one day we will be paid for sending text messages!

August 26, 2018
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