Viber, the Internet messaging and telephony provider has declared its interest in surveying partnership opportunities with African telecommunication companies as it intends to make its presence and capabilities all over the continent bigger. LightReading made it known that Viber has been developing largely in Africa with the word of mouth, but pointed out that joint ventures with operators could help it expend more rapidly.
Viber launched Public Chats, a mobile social media platform that allows users to track news about particular teams and brands as well as follow the conversations of celebrities. With the launching of its own gaming platform, Viber followed up that move at the beginning of this year.
Recent data from Statista, a web statistics company, disclosed that Viber currently has over 55 million users all over Africa – or approximately 8 percent of its total customer base — while its major markets on the African continent are Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and South Africa.
Howevwer, the lack of high-quality network infrastructure continues to be a source of frustration, even as the increasing accessibility of inexpensive Smartphones has helped out Viber to increase its customer base in Africa. The quality of telecom infrastructure is one of the challenges that Viber is facing in some markets. As soon as all these improve, all applications relying on good WiFi and 3G connections will experience a stronger growth.
Nevertheless, Viber may find itself under a greater pressure to support service offerings apart from messaging and telephony, as more customers buy smartphones and data networks.
In early 2014, a Japanese e-commerce company known as Rakuten Inc acquire Viber for $900 million, only a few months before the takeover of WhataApp for $22 billion was completed by Facebook. In the same vein, Microsoft Corp, a leading software developer had spent 8.5 billion to buy Skype, which is now part of its united communications offerings.