“Beep beep beep!”
That was another credit alert.
“God be praised!”, the money for his new phone was gradually coming together.
It had been six months since his Samsung Galaxy J1 got damaged from a heavy fall, and he felt its loss every day.
Deji was a dispatch rider in Lagos who worked six days a week and sometimes on Sunday. He worked a tight schedule with barely enough time for rest or recreation, and while riding in Lagos was hectic enough, it got even more intense during the holidays.
He bought a small Tecno T301 (Dual Sim) and tried to adjust to life without a smartphone. Still, after months of writing directions, memorizing landmarks and missing important WhatsApp conversations, adjusting was easier said than done.
But he knew it could have been a lot worse, he could have been forced to make every transaction in person, at the bank. This was, in fact, his initial worry when the phone got damaged. Going back to the long queues and slow tellers was a nightmare.
Thankfully, USSD came to the rescue. Every transaction: bank transfers, airtime payments etc., could be made almost automatically from the comfort of his home, the depot or even on his bike while in traffic– as long as he was with his phone.
This ease of making transactions came in handy while preparing for his father’s burial in Ondo state. As the family’s representative for canopies, food and drinks—a very vital role—he completed multiple transactions in the days leading to the event. Sending advance, part payments to vendors and receiving payments from relatives and family friends—all via USSD.
Sadly, however, other aspects of his life had not transitioned so well. Recreation and keeping up with friends has become a lot more difficult. What used to take a simple WhatsApp text, now requires a phone call. Even listening to music now had to be done via radio, and he had become a regular listener to “Evening Oyoyo” – Wazobia FM’s late-night radio show, which he even looked towards as a means of unwinding at the end of the day.
Now the burial ceremony’s done, and as he returns to the hustle and bustle of Lagos, grateful for a successful ceremony, there’s only one thing on his mind: to get a smartphone!
Access to the internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, might create a bubble in which we are unaware of the lives of those who do not own cellphones or are not connected to the internet. The No-Internet Diaries looks into the lives of ordinary Nigerians who do not have access to the internet daily.
Using platforms and APIs for USSD, SMS, and Voice, HollaTags helps businesses engage with all types of customers on mobile phones.