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Twitter to reach users with no internet connection

Posted on December 6, 2013

 

Social giant Twitter is teaming up with a start-up based in Singapore in an attempt to make its services more accessible to users in emerging markets who don’t have internet access.

U2opia Mobile already has a similar agreement with Facebook, and will introduce its Twitter service early next year, according to the firm’s CEO and co-founder, Sumesh Menon.

Users only have to dial a simple code, giving them access to a tailored news feeds showing all of the biggest topics trending on the micro-blogging site, localised to the area or region where they live.

At present, U2opia’s Fonetwish service boasts more than 10 million users, bringing elements of Facebook and Google Talk to those using devices that don’t have a data connection. The company uses Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, a telecom protocol that can provide text but not videos, images or other graphics – highlighting the importance of content for website marketing specialists looking to tap into developing markets.

Speaking to Reuters, Menon said that the vast majority of people living in developing countries – around 80 per cent – don’t currently access data using their phones. He further explained that when the Twitter service rolls out, it will likely be the first time that many of its users will have experienced the micro-blogging service.

Last month, Twitter – which is believed to have around 230 million users – had a successful IPO that saw it valued at around £15.3 billion.

U2opia operates in seven languages and is active in 30 countries across the world.

The company’s biggest markets are South America and Africa, and it partners with a number of telecom carriers, including Vodafone, Bharti Airtel Ltd and Telenor.

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