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For the next 9 999 days, Nigerians will have free internet access

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In a country where mobile penetration is rapidly expanding, it is ironic that data usage still hovers around 38 percent. This is largely due to the high cost of data in the country.

This is why Opera Software, makers of the popular opera mini mobile browser, Nigeria’s leading news portal and MTN Nigeria, the country’s top telco, have partnered to provide Nigerians access to the internet for 2,739 years. In other words, those who signed partnership will not live to see its end.

The free mobile internet, for 1 million days, is available to MTN’s 140 million subscribers through Opera’s Sponsored Web Pass, which allows operators to package their data in a user-friendly way. The Web Pass will be given to 40,000 users daily. Each of them will be offered 10MB that can only be used via the opera mini browser. They can only return to claim another Pass after two days. Some advice- don’t get the pass if you plan to stream videos or download.

Richard Monday, VP Africa for Opera Software says users will enjoy the experience despite the volume of the data due to Opera’s compression technology that ensures low data consumption when surfing the internet. This technology has saved mobile users in Africa over $2 billion in data cost over the past year.

Monday says Opera is looking at other partnerships as it seeks to connect more people wherever they are and help them to do more with their data.

According to Acting Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer at MTN Business, Tsola Barrow, “Opera’s Sponsored Web Pass helps take the fear out of using mobile internet for the first time”.

“We also truly believe in the power of bringing people online via the devices they use every day,” he adds.

Goke Olaegbe, Country Group Head at expressed excitement at the partnership.

Expectations are high that this partnership will help to increase internet penetration in Nigeria. The attendant benefits are immense.

But it’s a daily race against time henceforth as only the first 40,000 MTN users to visit will be able to access 10MB data.
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