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MTN-backed Ayoba notches up over 5m users

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Ayoba CEO Nolan Wolff.
Ayoba CEO Nolan Wolff.

MTN-backed African messaging app Ayoba now counts 5.5 million monthly users as part of its user base, the company announced yesterday as it marked its second birthday.

At the end of June 2020, Ayoba had two million active users.

In a statement, Ayoba says this year will see many upgrades and additions to the app, including new content in channels and local micro-apps from across the African continent.

“5.5 million users is an immense milestone for a two-year-old application,” says Olivier Prentout, head of consumer marketing at Ayoba. “It’s crazy to think that two years have gone by since we launched in Cameroon as our first territory and initial partnership with MTN.

“The app has changed so much, adding channels, music, games, micro-apps, MTN MoMo in some territories and more. Localisation has been a key focus for us and we are very proud that users can access the app in 22 languages.”

Prentout continues: “There is something for everyone. Help is available to all users with our in-app ‘how to channel’ or via our virtual assistant Aya.”

Launched in 2019, Ayoba is an instant messaging app that is owned by MTN but operates as a standalone, fully-over-the-top company. The WhatsApp-like service is free-to-use for MTN Android subscribers, offering personalised services such as news and sports channels for the network’s Middle East and Africa consumers.

As part of the second-year celebrations, Ayoba introduced additional features, including voice and video calling, as well as Web access with Ayoba lite.

It says the new features are already live within the app. However, voice and video calls are excluded from the free data provisions the app offers.

“Users have been asking us to support VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) calls pretty much since day one,” says Ayoba CEO Nolan Wolff. “And we are extremely pleased to be able to answer their call with this new release. All that’s required is for both parties to upgrade to the latest version of the Android app. This is available immediately from the Google Play Store and our Web site at ayoba.me.”

In terms of Ayoba lite, users can message contacts from within a standard Web browser, either from their desktop or a compatible smartphone.

Ayoba lite is designed as a ‘space saver’ for those who are short on memory on their device and prefer not to download the app, notes the statement.

“Ayoba lite has been built as a progressive Web app (PWA),” notes Wolff. “This allows us to provide much the same core functionality as our full-featured Android app but contained within a standard Web browser. This makes Ayoba accessible to a very broad audience and we expect to reach an entirely untapped market segment. The initial beta version of the PWA is independent of the Android app but it will evolve to allow a user to easily switch between platforms.”

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