Opera hits 200m mobile users, reports massive African growth

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It may not be a big in the world of desktop browsers but Opera’s mobile effort makes it a serious player in the browser wars.

The Norwegian-made browser today revealed that its mobile browsers are installed on some 200-million phones across the world, up 47% from the same period last year.

The company also reports that it’s experienced massive growth in its African user numbers. Thirty six countries more than doubled their Opera Mini user bases in one year, with some doing a lot more than that.

The number of Opera Mini users in Côte d’Ivoire for instance rose 600% in one year. Page views grew 744%, meaning people are browsing more pages than they did the year before. Data use grew 760%, outpacing the growth in page views.

The most stunning growth however came from Libya. A lift on internet restrictions after the ousting of dictator Muammar Gaddafi saw page views grow 1 886 839% and data usage 1 498 984%.

According to Opera, data growth is outpacing page-view growth across Africa. This suggests that people across the continent are browsing larger pages and most likely, using richer, more advanced websites.

“Two hundred million people use Opera Mini and Opera Mobile to connect to the world around them,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera. “For many of them, a browser is more than a tool to ‘browse the web’. Sometimes it’s a school when you can afford none, sometimes it’s the only line to an outside world shut off by an oppressive regime. Providing a service that reliably and cheaply delivers critical information to just about everyone with a phone is the reason Opera makes browsers. We want to make a difference in the world, not only on the web.”

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