Smart feature phones are helping make the internet accessible to the 4.5 billion individuals still unconnected. Carriers have an opportunity to turn these newcomers into customers, but first, they need to educate them on how to make the most out of their internet-enabled devices.

To help carriers empower first-time internet users, we’ve put together a list of onboarding suggestions.

Train retail staff to educate, not just sell

Often, retail workers are an unconnected person’s first contact with mobile internet. If trained, sales staff can play a crucial role in onboarding first-time internet users. Here’s how:

  1. Introducing smart feature phones as internet-enabled devices

    Late adopters often assume that only smartphones connect to the internet. Staff can address this misconception by introducing KaiOS phones as internet-enabled devices and doing live demonstrations of how to use them to connect to the internet.

  2. Demonstrating how mobile data, wifi, and hotspots work

    First-time internet consumers may not be familiar with mobile data, wifi, and hotspots, but sales staff can explain. They can also show customers how to purchase packages and switch mobile data on and off to avoid unwanted charges.

  3. Sharing personal examples of internet use

    New users tend to not be clear on what the internet has to offer. In addition to demonstrating how to access and use popular apps, sellers can help by sharing examples of their own internet use. This helps new internet adopters grasp the specific ways apps, and the internet in general, can be useful in their day-to-day.

  4. Helping customers meet their needs

    Retail workers should ask customers what their interests and needs are, and then teach them how to meet those needs on their smart feature phones. If they enjoy listening to music, staff can show them how to find music videos on YouTube, for example.

  5. Building trust so they return

    When salespeople educate later adopters of the internet on how smart feature phones work and what is possible through mobile internet, they establish themselves and the store as trusted guides. Happy customers are likely to return when it’s time to purchase a new device and recommend the store to family and friends.

Note: Offering the type of friendly and helpful service described above requires that sales associates feel confident and competent using smart feature phones. Getting to know KaiOS-powered devices and how they work should, therefore, be an essential part of their training. For tips and prompts, see the GSM Association’s Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit.

Add educational materials to packages

Inspiring new customers to take advantage of free digital resources is an effective strategy for turning them into data plan subscribers, as we explain here.

Pakistan’s leading digital communications company, Jazz, applied this tactic. Inside every box of Digit 4G phones, they placed a flyer introducing first-time users to the Life app, KaiOS’ free life skills app. As new internet users were motivated to try the app and spend more connected.

Jazz included a flyer in their packaging, introducing KaiOS and Life app.

Remind new users to connect

Helping newly-connected customers build the habit of going online is also important.

One way to keep them active is through automated calls or audio messages. Outbound calls recorded in their local language can inspire them to take action. Short, attention-grabbing audio messages can encourage them to call a toll-free number to learn more.

SMS notifications can also persuade them to reconnect. Here are some sample texts:

Have you read to your child today? Click here to browse thousands of free books on the Life app.
Increased your crop yield by making small changes. Check out these free farming resources.
Looking for a job? Use Google to search for job opportunities and get career guidance on the Life app.
Do you have COVID-19 symptoms? Access BeSafe to find out.
Watch local news on YouTube. Click here to access your local channel.

Access industry insights

Understanding the unique needs of the newly connected helps you better market your products and services in emerging markets.

At KaiOS, we do extensive research on the experience and behavior of late internet adopters. We share our findings on our blog as well as in webinars and events.

Examples of our research include:

We encourage you to access our industry insights to better target new internet consumers in emerging markets.

Take action

We’re excited to see you apply these ideas to empower first-time internet users. If you have questions or an interest in partnering with us, please contact us at