In a blog by Matthew Talbot on BlackBerry’s official blog on why BBM is still huge in the biggest African markets like South Africa and Nigeria, we couldn’t help but notice that the reasons are the same for Zambia as well.
The social messenger characteristic of BlackBerry smartphones and now available for Android and iOS platforms has over 22 million registered subscribers in Africa, gaining 500,000 new users monthly, according to BlackBerry.
Talbot explained that Africa is a mobile-first continent, with more people getting internet access on mobile rather than desktop devices so messengers like BBM are on high demand, with BlackBerry offering in-app feature like stickers that are locally created to appeal more to the population. Talbot placed the numbers at 60 million stickers sent over the app in Africa in total so far, with 20 million views of the BBM Shop each month.
BBm will now also get some monetization opportunities for users by introducing mobile payment options, starting in Nigeria with Firstmonie e-wallet which will be provided by the First Bank of Nigeria. Plans to introduce other mobile money initiatives are set for South Africa as well. BlackBerry is also working with security netwroks to ensure that these mobile money services are secure enough to launch.
What about Zambia? Well, even though most of the population is moving to Android or iOS they are installing BBM fro the respective platforms so that is still within the target market for many of BlackBerry’s new features. We can’t wait to see more.
So to answer the question ‘Why is BBM still thriving in Africa?”, it’s because of its multi-platform functionality not limiting users to one brand of phone. Also the little incentives they place in-app are attractive enough to garner attention and keep the app relevant. There’s also nothing like world-approved secure messaging. 🙂