Safaricom selects Gemalto’s cloud solution to provide phonebook back-up services for subscribers

contacts backupKenya’s Safaricom has selected Gemalto to provide phonebook back-up services for its 18 million users. The deal will see Safaricom utilize Gemalto’s LinqUs cloud-based backup solution to offer the mobile subscribers a comprehensive back-up service for phonebook contacts.

The Gemalto solution is compatible with most handset models and will ensure that Safaricom customers can easily protect themselves against the disruption caused by phone theft, loss, damage or replacement, through saving all their contacts automatically in the mobile operator’s cloud-based storage service.

Currently, Safaricom offers phonebook back-up services at a cost Kshs 1 every 7 days while retrieval charges are Kshs 25 for both pre- and post-paid subscribers.

“The mobile phone is a technology that forges strong emotional bonds with the user, and we fully understand how important contacts data is to our subscribers. That’s why we are putting secure and convenient cloud-based back up services within easy reach, enabling them to safeguard and retrieve contacts at any time and from anywhere, no matter which type of phone they use. This mass market service fits perfectly with our strategy to offer complete peace of mind to all of our customers’ needs,” said Thibaud Rerolle, Safaricom’s technical director.

Gemalto’s LinqUs Cloud Backup is already used by more than 140 million subscribers across the world and is particularly relevant in emerging markets such as those in Africa, where the mobile phone is fast becoming the most widespread computing device, and where the many small businesses rely on the integrity of their mobile phonebook contacts to operate.

LinqUs Cloud Backup combines both SIM and handset phonebook backup systems and this feature is unique to the Gemalto solution. It is simple to use as protection of the entire phonebook is just a single click process and restoration of contacts is equally straightforward.

For Safaricom, the contacts back-up service represents both an important differentiator and a new income stream within the highly competitive mobile communications market.

“With the help of LinqUs Cloud Backup, Safaricom offers customers the opportunity to protect themselves against the consequences of losing a wealth of personal- and business-critical data, simply because a handset goes missing. It will give the operator a solid and secure platform on which to build premium subscriber services,” said Eric Claudel, Gemalto’s senior VP for Telecommunications at Gemalto Middle East and Africa.

Furthermore, customer loyalty is significantly enhanced with churn rate dropping – with Gemalto’s 2012 studies indicating that subscribers using the service are staying on average an extra 9 months with the same operator – as the mobile operator is recognized and trusted as the guardian of the subscriber’s valued contacts information.