Nokia unveils SMS-based service to aid learning in Kenya

Global mobile phone manufacturer Nokia has launched SMS-based service in Kenya, aimed at facilitate learning without the need for a data plan.

The service dubbed Nokia Life for Kenya offers services under the education, health, spirituality and entertainment categories, according to local users’ needs.

Available on both Safaricom and Airtel mobile platforms, Nokia says the service will be free of charge for an initial 30-day trial period, with the option to subscribe monthly for about Sh2 per day.

The services offered under the Nokia Life will include Learn English, developed in partnership with the British Council; and Life Skills, developed with Foundation for Social Change; and Parenting Advice, developed with global children’s charity, Plan International.

Other specific topics such as HIV; diabetes and heart conditions are also covered under the health banner, while the entertainment portfolio includes favourites such as wallpapers, horoscopes and ringtones.


“Kenya, like many emerging markets, has numerous social needs. Traditional channels don’t always provide the solution, but the enormous uptake of mobile phones creates an opportunity for locally relevant information to be disseminated via mobile,” says Bruce Howe, general manager for Nokia East Africa.

Airtel Kenya managing director Shivan Bhargava noted that Airtel is keen on this especially because learning and growing life skills and socialisation is closely tied to the availability and ease of access to relevant information.

“Our robust SMS platform will allow customers to combine the enormous potential of the internet with the convenience of Nokia phones and other devices in accessing this information at an affordable cost.”

He said the service would allow Kenyans in general the opportunity to enhance productivity and community development via increased knowledge in a vast range of subjects.

“In the 14 years that Safaricom has been in existence, we have seen Kenya stamp her authority as the global mobile trendsetter, Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore noted, adding that the new service was a testament to “the important role the mobile phone continues to play in the lives of our customers”

Nokia first introduced Nokia Life in India in 2009, quickly expanding to China, Indonesia and Nigeria. Nokia Life services have since been experienced by more than 95 million people, in 18 local languages, with content co-developed by more than 90 knowledge partners including academics, governments and NGOs.