Etisalat’s Easymobile app gives one touch access to a cornucopia of network functions. Forget USSD and SMS shortcodes. Want to check your airtime balance? Tap a button. Want to buy a data bundle or check your usage? Tap, tap.
If you could actually be bothered to download and use it, this app could actually make your life easier, and your brain lighter. Save you precious milliseconds of unnecessary keystrokes and from memorising otherwise useless strings of characters.
It almost makes recharging your airtime a great experience, except that you have to somehow procure and enter a recharge code. Since I can’t remember the last time I bought and scratched a recharge card, I’m pretty sure I will not be using that feature. Come to think of it, why can’t I buy airtime from inside this app with my debit card or something? Seems like a gross oversight from where I’m standing, to have missed an opportunity to help their subscribers easily complete the most frequent activity that users engage in besides making calls. Perhaps they are scared of Nigeria’s electronic payments fustercluck.
But never fear. The app is chock full of other features that you will probably ignore. Like a data calculator, and a support page.
I like being able to get my airtime balance in one tap from an app, but I would first have to remember to do it. Telcos have spent the past decade and half training us with, Pavlovian rigour, to access the network via SMS and USSD. Can an app help us unlearn this ingrained habit? I wouldn’t hold my breath.
The app would however make a lot of sense to new users of the network who have not yet had the time to commit to memory, the minimum database of codes that are necessary to function on the network.
In fact, it turns out that the app was first developed and released in February for iPad users, because the iPad does not have the dialing function that is required to initiate USSD or SMS commands. I reckon the function solved that peculiar pain point, and must have been so successful that someone thought it would be a great idea to push it to all smart devices. They have been plugging it really hard with this really ugly and inescapable banner ad that now appears above every YouTube video when I browse on my phone. It’s the only reason I’m writing about it in the first place.
Downloading the Easymobile app doesn’t make the ad go away. Maybe if you all download it in droves, maybe I will get my browser back at some point. The Easymobile app is available for iOS, Android and BlackBerry platforms. If you get it, let us know how you like it.