Ayoba is an instant messaging app launched by one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Africa – MTN.
MTN decision to compete with WhatsApp and Telegram, the prominent chat messengers in Nigeria and worldwide, made them create an instant messaging app called “Ayoba” which has the same interface as its rivals. The company first revealed its plans to launch the app in March 2019 at its financial results presentation for the last year.
Named after a campaign by MTN in South Africa to commemorate the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Ayoba is a free instant messaging app, designed by Africans for Africans.
The name is a South African Slang, which means something “okay”, “cool”, or “all right”, further indicating that African users are the target of the app. What’s more, the app enables English, and seven African languages – Pidgin (Cameroon), Swahili, Cote d’Ivoire, Ganda, Julu, Zulu, Xhosa, and Francais.
The app is designed with incorporated sophisticated end-to-end encryption to keep users’ data safe and ensure their privacy, guaranteeing that the messages in a conversation can’t be read by anyone else even the team at Ayoba.
Similar to WhatsApp., you only need to register with your phone number to access your contacts. Immediately you sign up with your phone number, you can sync all your contacts easily without needing to create a new address book.
As one of the app’s users, you can communicate with anyone with a mobile device, even those without the app – this is one of the greatest feature of the app known as the SMS integration.
When you use this feature, messages will be delivered as texts, and if there are files or images attached, the message will include links to view them in your browser. While on the app, you can join channels like Facebook for trending news updates.
To make calls to your contacts, you simply need to click on the contact and the app will redirect your phone call application or Truecaller, based on the call app installed on your phone. You should note that charges for each call are deducted from your airtime. Whether or not you are an MTN subscriber, data is needed to send and receive messages, video files, audio files, documents and images to your contact.
Currently, the Ayoba app is only available for users in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Arica and Cameroon, but according to the website, plans are in place to expand to other countries across Africa.