Upstream’s Zero-D Scores Gold Hat Trick at Stevie® Awards

Three Gold Stevies® in International Business Awards® for making mobile internet accessible in emerging markets

London, September 11th, 2020 – Leading mobile technology company, Upstream, has been awarded three Gold Stevie® Awards in the 17th Annual International Business Awards® for its deployment of Zero-D in South Africa.

A panel of more than 250 independent judges from across the world comprised of leading industry experts, analysts, journalists and academics, have selected Upstream’s Zero-D for making mobile internet access available to 250 million consumers without data in emerging markets.

Zero-D was named:

  • Gold – Best New Product or Service of the Year – Telecommunications Product
  • Gold – Best New Product or Service of the Year – Telecommunications Service
  • Gold – Product & Service Categories – Business Technology Solutions – Mobile Operations Management Solutions

Judges’ comments for Zero-D included:

  • “This unique telecommunications product supports digital integration in South Africa.”
  • “The service empowers users to support their own connectivity by interacting with ads on their own terms to gain mobile data.”
  • “Upstream is successfully providing digital services to under-served customers in 20 countries. Recognizing that in today’s connected world, online access is increasingly becoming a basic human right. The new Zero-D platform provides for consistent connectivity, allowing users access to important educational and government services as well as stay in touch with friends and family.”

“Despite the increasingly digital world”, said Upstream Deputy CEO, Kostas Kastanis, “41 percent of the world’s population lacks access to the Internet. Hundreds of millions of people, most of which are from developing economies and rely upon mobile devices, lose access when financial and physical restrictions limit their ability to top up mobile data when they run out. This barrier keeps mobile users offline 50 percent of the time, translating to lost revenues, decreased engagement and low brand perception for mobile network operators”.

Zero-D by Upstream, an ad-funded free mobile Internet platform, helps keep users connected to the digital world even when they have run out of data on their pre-paid accounts. The deployment in South Africa facilitates enduring connectivity for over 25 million mobile users. The portal provides a zero-rated web environment in which users can enjoy continuous access to Internet essentials including local and international news, web search, weather reports, job portals, e-school courses, and unrestricted access to Wikipedia.

It also gives users access to Facebook Flex, a low-data version of Facebook, helping customers stay connected socially. Zero-rated access to certain government websites is also included; allowing users to access important services such as home affairs, healthcare, finances and general government communication services.

When a subscriber reaches the end of their data, they are redirected to the Zero-D portal. Within the portal, they can enjoy uninterrupted access to the Internet. The portal gives subscribers the option of digitally topping up their service for increased airtime or data by watching advertisements. This method of data rewards advertising extends support beyond the portal for mobile users in need of accessible connectivity.

“Zero-D is as much a mission for us, as it is a business,” said Kastanis. “What makes it sustainable is that it is designed so that everyone benefits, at the same time as contributing something positive to the world. We are proud that the judges of the International Business Awards® have recognized that we are already making a tangible everyday difference to a huge number of people’s lives.”

The International Business Awards are the world’s premier business awards program. All individuals and organizations worldwide – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small – are eligible to submit nominations.

The 2020 IBAs received 3,800 entries from organizations and entities in 63 nations and territories. Stevie Award winners were determined by the average scores of executives worldwide who participated in the judging process from July through early September.

As the ongoing COVID-19 crisis will prevent winners from receiving their awards on stage during a traditional gala IBA banquet, 2020 winners will be celebrated instead during a virtual ceremony on Tuesday, 1 December.

Details about The International Business Awards and the lists of Stevie Award winners are available at


For more information please contact:
Chevaan Seresinhe
Sonus PR for Upstream, UK
P: +44 20 3751 0330

Sofia Marinou
Upstream Corporate Communications
P: +30210 6618532 +30210 6618507

About Upstream
Upstream, the leading mobile technology company, provides innovative solutions that offer seamless and secure mobile Internet access to 1.2 billion consumers in high growth markets. Upstream’s Zero-D platform enables mobile operators to increase digital engagement, ARPU and create new mobile advertising revenues. Its award-winning security platform, Secure-D, in 2019 alone, processed over 1.7 billion mobile transactions, detecting and blocking over 98,000 malicious apps in 20 countries. Upstream works with more than 60 mobile operators in over 45 countries in Latin America, Africa and SE Asia.

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in eight programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, the Middle East & North Africa Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 12,000 nominations each year from organizations in more than 70 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at

Source: RealWire

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