We just received a press release from Gikko, the till roll ads and bulk sms startup that we last wrote about in September last year. The release announces the launch of local mobile content services on the Telecel Zimbabwe network.
Basically the new service will allow users to request and receive content such as flirt texts, bible verses and inspirational sms messages by sending a keyword via sms to a Telecel shortcode. Each piece of content requested and delivered will cost the user US 10 cents.
Gikko says in the release that the service will be upgraded later in the year to allow users to subscribe once and receive content for a week. Also on the cards is a trivia quiz game based around the English football season, which will allow participants to accumulate points and be rewarded for them at the end of the season. That’s however going to come much later in the year, in October.
The mobile VAS side of Gikko so far has been bulk sms and stuff like powering the sms (ordinary sms) side of promotions like the Gloria Valentine’s promotion last week. This new service on the Telecel network therefore represents Gikko’s first commercial foray into real shortcodeVAS stuff.
We hope Gikko extends the service to the Econet network in the coming months so they don’t leave out the 5.6 million Econet subscribers. Econet currently has 63% of the Zimbabwe mobile telecoms market. On Econet, Gikko would join Itllusion and G-Telecoms (the G-Tide VAS subsidiary), startups that have managed to provide value added services on the network.
We are happy that the new Gikko service only charges 10 cents per piece of content. There’s definitely some sense put into pricing the content. One of the major problems we noted when we wrote about the Itllusion VAS last year was that the startup was charging between 29 cents and 49 cents per sms (Their website indicates they still do).
We applaud Gikko for the pricing and hope they can justify enough sms volume to get even lower. As crazy low as eTXT sms chat messages now are.
As indicated when we first wrote about the startup back in July last year, Gikko is a Matamba Anonaka Technology Holdings (this tech VC firm) startup. Today’s press release further reveals that Gikko is now the operating brand for Starfish Zimbabwe. Starfish Zimbabwe is a joint venture between Matamba Anonaka and Starfish Mobile International. Starfish Mobile International does mobile VAS in over 16 countries across the African continent and the Middle East.
You can download the full press release here.