Tanzania’s Tigo announces free WhatsApp services

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Tanzania-based telecom giant Tigo, best known for driving digital lifestyle transformation, has announced free WhatsApp services for its 10 million users.

“The move makes Tigo the first telecom company in East Africa’s second largest economy to offer the social media service for free, once again demonstrating its leadership in delivering cutting-edge technology and innovations in market,” according to the General Manager Tigo , Diego Gutierrez.

Making the announcement in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, Gutierrez said all Tigo customers subscribing to the company’s weekly and monthly internet will henceforth be entitled to free WhatsApp service.

“Tigo customers buying any of our weekly or monthly packages will be eligible to enjoy free WhatsApp 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 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.

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.

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 connectivity which is five times higher than the technology available in the Tanzanian market.

Tigo was also 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 more than 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.

In 2015 Tigo announced an increased annual investment of $120 million per year on infrastructure improvement and expansion which is 20% higher than Tigo’s annual spending in the past three years.

Tigo is the biggest commercial brand of Millicom, an international company developing the digital lifestyle in 12 countries with commercial operations in Africa and Latin America and corporate offices in Europe and the USA.