MATHs startup, Gikko, launches mobile content services with Telecel

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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.

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  • Kudzai Dandala

    why is it so difficult to set up a VAS in ZW.

  • ngth

    I would hazard a guess that the mobile operators are unable or unwilling to play ball and provide premium codes and links into their network.

  • MichaelM

    I’m curious to know about how Matamba invests. Are they actively investing in startup tech projects right now? Do they have any specific criteria for the kind of projects they invest in? Do they do any call out to people who have projects at a certain time or one has to approach them individually and pitch? 
    We are working on something and we are in need of investment and the networks a VC would have in the corporate market.

  • Mat
  • Masimba

    is Mobitones still alive? haven’t seen anything from them in a long while now? They had the real deal having access to the Econet subscribers. and this just seems like they blew it. 10c is good.

  • Telecomadvisor

    One reason is weak regulation. To add value to consumer services POTRAZ should induce cellcos to open up their networks to VAS providers. Regulation in this country should move from voice based service regulation to data…

    POTRAZ has done little to stimulate competition and in my opinion they don’t understand that their role is not simply to sit back but to oversee the development of an ecosystem composed of various players interacting profitably in the marketplace.

    Sitting back is called “regulatory capture”…being captured by network owners who want to do everything from owing and running the network to offering all services.