Cape Town - Opera Software has announced a deal with Bharti Airtel that will see the Opera Mini browser featured as the default browser for customers of the giant Indian mobile operator.
"With this, over 253 million Airtel customers across countries including India, South Asia and Africa will now be able to leverage Opera Mini's unique proxy-server-based technology to compress data by up to 90% and decrease their data transfer costs," Opera told News24.
Opera Mini is the top mobile phone browser as the software is able to reduce the data footprint of web pages which reduces cost for users, particularly those in developing countries.
"In today's African markets, data services are quickly becoming as important to our customers as voice services. This is why Airtel is committed to providing consumers with the most innovative and efficient products and services, which will have a positive impact on their experience," said Andre Beyers, chief marketing officer of Airtel Africa.
Opera recently launched the latest version of the browser that allows basic cellphones with internet access to act more like smartphones. Users of cellphones with the browser installed have access to similar social networking and web tools as more expensive devices.
"Our primary drive is to provide the best user experience, no matter what device people use. There are millions of users with basic mobile phones instead of smartphones, and Opera Mini gives even the most basic phone a smartphone-like web experience," said Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software.
Opera has been on a partnership drive and has agreements with 13 operators around the world.
Despite the growth of apps for devices running Google's Android operating system or Apple's iPhone, Opera believes that the web will remain critical to the growth of mobile phones.
"When we look at what people are doing, by analysing aggregated data from our servers to get top-rankings, we see things like social web; web mail, social messaging services like Mxit for example.
"In the near future it will mostly be web anyway," Christen Krogh, Opera chief development officer told News24.