A messaging app that will compete with WhatsApp has been launched in South Africa.
The App is called Moya Messenger will offer zero-rated data access on South Africa’s four largest mobile networks. It also works even when users have no airtime or data on their smartphones.
The app was developed by cloud technology company that eliminates the mobile data cost barrier biNu.
According to statement released by the company, “The Moya app provides a similar messaging experience to market leader WhatsApp but with the key distinguishing feature that text messaging is #datafree across all four major mobile networks,”
BiNu CEO, Gour Lentell also explained that the company provides zero-rated access by utilising operator reverse-billing. This means the company pays Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom for the mobile messaging data costs.
“Despite a multimillion-dollar marketing budget, WeChat struggled to gain a foothold in the South African market largely because the incumbent network effect of WhatsApp proved too competitive to overcome,” Lentell said.
“But we definitely see a place for a challenger like Moya, where the data-cost barrier of mobile messaging is removed completely for South African consumers.”
Moya Messenger was built using “proven, industry standard open-source messaging technology and adapted” for zero-rated data, the company said.
Although message attachments such as photos, videos, voice notes and documents can be sent and received, these are not zero-rated. Users are warned when they will incur mobile data costs, or need to switch to Wi-Fi to send media files.