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Kirusa: Inderpal Singh Mumick's 2017 Telecom Trends

Over the past five years, Africa has seen a sharp rise in the number of mobile phone users, accounting for 46% of the total population, making it the second largest mobile market in the world.

The fast-growing mobile industry is a major contributor to the region’s developing economy, and the usage of mobile technology has created versatile platforms for financial transactions[1].

The usage of smartphones has doubled significantly over the last couple of years, and the smartphone penetration is expected to cross 25% by the end of 2017 in several key markets. This has set the stage for telecommunication companies to come up with innovative mobile solutions for the evolving communication requirement. The African Telecom sector has therefore observed a significant proliferation in the usage of messaging apps and OTT services, drawing increased revenues and traffic from messaging and voice applications.

However, a major proportion of the population in the emerging markets who live in rural areas, do not own smartphones. There is an extensive growth in the telecom ecosystem, which is not necessarily penetrative. A significant chunk of the populace is not familiar with otherwise popular OTT messaging apps.

Which is why Kirusa made the innovative intervention with InstaVoice services, to bridge the gap between the first wave of communication channels such as SMS, MMS, and the second wave of OTT messaging applications. InstaVoice has reinvented mobile messaging space by integrating voicemail and missed calls with texting, voicing, pictures, and groups.

InstaVoice provides a unique way for people to do messaging right from the call. It is the first service of its kind to be delivered in Africa because previously, there had been a high-cost barrier. Kirusa’s resourceful business model has enabled subscribers to avail the service without any incremental call cost.

Considering the popularity of missed calls in Africa, Kirusa went ahead with the idea to develop an app that would enable people to receive missed calls, voice mail and voice SMS over a seamless platform. On top of that, the recipient doesn’t even have to install the app to receive a missed call or an SMS. Also, the user can indefinitely avail the service and send unlimited missed calls, voice mails and Voice SMS without having to worry about running out of talk time. The urgency is conveyed to the other regardless.

Kirusa has managed to understand the unique communication practice of a continent that heavily relies on missed calls, and it has successfully solved the problem of limited talk time by launching an affordable but efficient platform.

InstaVoice has been so far launched in 21 African countries and has gained immense popularity in the Sub-Saharan region. Over 50 million people in Nigeria and more than 15 million people in Ghana are using this service. Recently, the app had reached a remarkable landmark of 100 million active users in the continent.

We expect that the growth would continue tremendously in Nigeria, Ghana and penetrate other countries in Africa, as users embrace this unique messaging solution that highly facilitates their networking requirements.

Dr. Inderpal Singh Mumick is the Founder, CEO and Chairman of Kirusa.