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Data-over-voice firm Pangea launches operations in Nigeria

Data-over-voice firm Pangea launches operations in Nigeria.

Silicon Valley-based data-over-voice company Pangea has launched operations in Nigeria, planning to expand across Africa with its technology leveraging on voice infrastructure to increase internet access.

Founded late last year, Pangea allows users to send and receive data over the infrastructure used to make voice calls, without the need for 3G or Wi-Fi coverage.

To use the service, a user is required to download a free app, which converts data into sound waves. When using the app, a short voice call starts in the background to a Pangea server, which contains all requested internet data converted into sound waves.

Pangea's systems convert these sounds into text, load the web page, and re-convert them into sound waves again. At this point the consumer will receive a short inbound short call, with the app converting all the into a typical web page. The whole process takes between 15 and 30 seconds.

Marco Scotti, director of business development at Pangea, said the company had developed the technology in a bid to make internet access a reality for the four billion people worldwide that currently lack it.

"Pangea was born from the lack of connectivity across the majority of world's population. We know internet is one of the most profitable sectors in the world, igniting innovation, knowledge, growth and social inclusion," he said.

"It's actually crazy that two-thirds of the world's population can't access it, with those people being at the same time the ones who need it most."

Developed in the United States (US), Pangea recently launched in India for test purposes and has just kicked off operations in Africa in Nigeria. It plans to cover more African countries soon. The service has around 70,000 users so far, but Scotti said it is aiming for many more.

"Nigeria is one of the fastest developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Plus, obviously we work better in countries where smartphone penetration is higher. Voice signal is present practically everywhere, SMEs are richer than on average and could be more easily interested in selling online or already be doing it," he said.

"Awareness of the internet, and the need for it, is very high. Last but not least, we had some connections there which helped us in rolling out technology."

He said Pangea has benefits for both consumers and corporate entities.

"The cool thing about Pangea is the customer does not need to learn anything new. He'll use his smartphone, with his apps, exactly as if he's connected to 3G or Wi-Fi. You just have to download the app from Google Play and you're ready to go," he said.

The company can integrate with pre-existing websites or apps, or can develop a site or app if need be.

"From the side of local businesses, our performing team of engineers, sometimes in just one day, will integrate Pangea into their already existing web page or app, for free," Scotti said.

"We discovered it's an incredibly powerful tool for local businesses."

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