The success of a truly disruptive innovation is borne out of all the other innovations it enables, the opportunities that evolve from the original idea. And these innovations must reside in a sense of meticulous care, through the creation of a great product that, at the end of the day, people want to use.

Employees enjoying the MoyaPayD Launch event

This is the premise on which Datafree has been built and how it approaches its product development, understanding that the platform it has created is an enabler. This according to Gour Lentell, CEO of Datafree.

About Datafree
Datafree identified an opportunity to empower inclusive mobile connection by removing the significant data cost barrier in South Africa to engage mobile audiences. The company’s cloud-based Datafree platform leverages a technology called reverse billing which allows businesses to offer their online services, applications and content to their customers #datafree.

The data used is then billed back to those businesses, similar to the 0800 telephone numbers, where businesses pay the per minute call costs so that customers are able to reach them without paying to make the call.

This platform was built to take the friction out of the reverse billing solutions offered by the mobile network providers. For many there is a high level of complexity in offering a single website reverse-billed across all the mobile networks.

The essence of the Datafree platform addresses the mobile affordability challenge that many South Africans face taking the data cost from the user and transferring it to the business offering the online services. The platform takes the worry out of mobile data usage, which both businesses and consumers in South Africa experience.

Keeping in mind Datafree’s philosophy on innovation, all the products that the company develops over this platform has been based on services that users and customers are looking for.

Gour Lentell, CEO of Datafree

Business specific services
Many businesses face challenges when it comes to offering digital services or applications to employees or customers, particularly in a mobile-led country like South Africa. The Datafree platform provides companies with a way to create digital inclusion by using one or more of the business services offered by Datafree.

For example, Datafree Connect allows companies to enable #datafree use of targeted mobile applications, such as MS Teams, Gmail, Google Maps, Salesforce or any third-party smartphone application, required by employees for their day-to-day work and business.

This eliminates the need for data allocations, or cellphone allowances within businesses, simplifying both customer delivery and employee management. From providing online stores or website content through to government mandates of citizenry participation and online schooling, Datafree has built solutions that any industry can make use of.

Moya and MoyaPayD
From a consumer perspective, Datafree offers a mobile application called Moya, which conceptually started as a #datafree mobile messaging platform similar to WhatsApp or Signal. However, it has since evolved to incorporate a broad range of online content and services.

With over 6.5 million monthly active users in South Africa, Moya offers a way for South Africans to communicate, and meaningfully engage with online content without using their mobile data, even if they have a zero-airtime balance.

It has recently added MoyaPayD, a mobile money account, allowing users to receive money, send money, make online and offline payments, purchase a range of value-added services and use a prepaid Mastercard linked to their MoyaPayD account, all with minimal transaction fees and all #datafree.

MoyaPayD opens opportunities for users to engage with online and offline services as well as offering businesses a means to transact with consumers in the mainstream South African market. The growth of MoyaPayD has been exponential since its launch with new account registrations sitting at over 30 000 per month.

Veedo enables video conferencing and broadcasting that is #datafree for audiences, and delivers good quality audio and video, no matter what mobile devices users have. Video conferencing is notorious for being data-heavy and the Veedo team has invested significant research and development into building a solution that uses as little data as possible.

This addresses two key challenges; reducing the cost of data to the business offering the conference, and ensuring that where mobile network quality is poor or users are on old or low-end handsets the service is still offered at a great quality.

Moving forward
Datafree is in effect solving problems that are unique to South Africa and builds its solutions based on what users want and need. It’s about creating meaningful online access, while removing the worry about the cost of data.


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