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Jana To Launch Internet Browser With Free Data Service

The mobile advertising firm is all set to invest more than $90 million in India and other emerging markets to strengthen its customer base

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Boston-based mobile advertising company Jana on Thursday (09 March) launched an internet browser for Android users that would enable consumers to surf the web by offsetting mobile data costs.

The mobile advertising firm is all set to invest more than $90 million in India and other emerging markets to strengthen its customer base.

The company chose India for their global launch since more than 50 per cent of its existing user base coming from India. The company is expecting around 10 million users for their newly launched mCent browser by end of 2017.

The mCent app was launched in India in 2014 and grew to 10 million users within a year. Currently, the app has 30 million users in India.

"Our mission is to make the internet free for the next billion. We aim to provide unrestricted access to the entire internet, with the quality user experience. Through the mCent browser, users can now pick up their phone every day and browse the internet without worrying about high data costs, " said Nathan Eagle, CEO and Co- Founder, Jana.

Eagle said the company has tied up with all telecom operators in India, including Reliance Jio, for a smooth transition of its services.

India is the first country in which we are launching the browser and we are hoping to have at least 10 million users by the end of 2017, Eagle said.

A user of the browser, mCent, would initially get a data refund of up to 10 MB per day and 70 MB per week and will also be provided with unrestricted internet access to online content. mCent, which will compete with the likes of UC browser and Opera mini, is an ad-sponsored model through which advertisers would incorporate their marketing.

The Journey So Far

Jana started its operations in India almost three years back after seeing the market's potential because of high smartphone penetration and English-speaking population. Eagle feels that the journey has been exciting and it is an interesting time for them.

In India, Jana competes with services such as Ladoo, Taskbucks, Databack and Gigato.

While the Jana CEO denied sharing revenue numbers for India, he pointed out that the company is doing reasonably well and their clients who used mCent back in 2014 to reach out to their consumers are still using the service.

With the launch of Reliance Jio in the market, the price for per megabyte has gone down in India and this has helped mCent as well. Mr Eagle said, "Now we can provide double the amount of free internet to our users than we were able to previously."

The Road Ahead

With Reliance Jio changing up the market, other mobile operators are also providing more data for less money. In such a scenario, when the users have access to all the platforms, do they still need a third party app like mCent to give them a small chunk of data?

Sharing his thought on that, Mr Eagle said, "If you don't mind paying more on your phone bills then you won't use our app. The reward that we provide is not only for data but also for voice and text. It's like money credited into your account. We are only appealing to users who are willing to get money into their accounts, if you are not interested in getting a free recharge then our browser and app is not for you."

Eagle doesn't consider the mobile operators as a threat to mCent because they are not providing data for free to the customers. If they will provide data for free then there is not much value proposition for mCent but he is confident that is not going to happen.

In order to promote their product in the past, mCent has carried out several campaigns. One of such campaign was 'Beta Nahin, Data Maango'. mCent also co-sponsored IIT Bombay Techfest 2016 and signed up 3,000 new users on the spot. The app regularly launches contests on its Facebook and Twitter pages that entice new users with free data prizes. The company is planning to promote the mCent browser on similar lines.

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Jana Free Data Service mCent browser rjio opera mini