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AppDate: Zero-rated access to essential data

In this AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Vodacom’s ConnectU platform, Nedbank’s QR code cash withdrawal, Aura’s protection of The Courier Guy, and the Relaxed and Solitaired apps.

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Vodacom ConnectU platform

314-million mobile users in eight countries used over 3.4 petabytes of free mobile data during 2020 via Upstream’s Zero-D portal. This was through partnerships set up with mobile operators like Vivo in Brazil and Vodacom in South Africa, both of whom deployed Zero-D to offer 41-million hours of browsing. This equates to 6.9-million hours of video streaming.

Upstream deputy CEO Kostas Kastanis says: “Zero-D is critical in emerging markets where a lack of fixed-line infrastructure, combined with high mobile data costs, often leave users digitally stranded. The portal allows users to access basic Internet services such as news, email, messaging apps and government services.”

The 2020 South African version of Zero-D, called ConnectU, is only available on mobile devices connected to the Vodacom network. Various job sites like Careers24, PNet and Career Junction are available. The search engine functionality also provides base information on various topics from Wikipedia and Wiktionary.  

News and weather services as well as access to the Vodacom blog are zero-rated.

Platform: Most devices with an Internet browser which are connected to the Vodacom network.

Expect to pay: A free service

Stockists: Visit the ConnectU page here to start browsing.

Go to the next page to read about Nedbank’s QR code cash withdrawal system, an app to keep couriers safe, an app that turns meditation into a game, and a solitaire app that’s gained a lot of traction during lockdown.

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