Now, a messaging service within mCent is effectively paying users—in the form of credits on their bills—for sending messages to each other. The credits offset the data cost for sending the messages, and are subsidised by Jana, the Boston-based creator of mCent, an Android app with over 30m registered users.
The new mCent messaging service is simple and text-focused, and for the moment doesn’t compete broadly with apps like Facebook’s WhatsApp. But offsetting data costs is an important move in developing markets such as India and Brazil, where mobile internet access can be prohibitively expensive for the average user. Because of the cost, over 40 per cent of Indian smartphone owners don’t have a data plan, according to some estimates, and those who do use only a fraction of the data that users in developed countries do each month.
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