The Financial Gazette, a Zimbabwean newspaper which is anchored on business and finance has introduced a mobile news feature. I know for most in this era that translates to an app, but well, it’s not. The mobile news feature is accessible via SMS; so smartphone or not, no worries.
The subscription costs 12c per day though the initial subscription (according to the SMS I first got) was free for the first 3 days and then you pay to continue using the service if satisfied. I subscribed today and received 9 updates covering top stories, business news, lifestyle and sports.
The FinGaz SMS service is available every day of the week, unlike the newspaper print out which is only available once a week (Thursdays).
Though of course the initiative will always be challenged by the fact that their content is also available online, there’re always people with limited internet access to consider, whether by virtue of not having a smartphone or otherwise. In Zim, the most affordable internet comes in the form of social media bundles.
Also, (I stand corrected) but SMS is cheaper if we consider that with the same amount (12c) you’re likely not going to read as much content from their website. I mean, the internet is expensive without bundles; besides, your 12c will likely get shared by so many other data hungry operations on your phone. But if you choose to buy data bundles instead, be prepared to use more than that.
Added to that, the initiative will also be of much advantage to those of us who easily get distracted on the internet. You know how you open the browser to search for something and then end up reading a hundred other things? It gets worse sometimes when you realise you’ve only read one paragraph of the intended content or worse still, none of it! So receiving news via SMS will save you from clicking on everything else that comes your way.
So far, it seems the service is only available for Econet subscribers which is not too much of a bummer considering that as of the 2017 Q1 POTRAZ report, Econet holds roughly 49.2% of the 12 977 315 active mobile subscribers in Zimbabwe.
So, to subscribe for the FinGaz mobile news updates, send FIN to 33567. You will then be asked to send RESEND to the same number before actually getting the news. Note that the 12c will be deducted on the 1st SMS you send i.e. the ‘FIN SMS’ and not on RESEND, just in case you thought you could think otherwise after sending the 1st SMS.
The launch of the Fingaz SMS news service follows similar services by other newspaper publications locally. SMS news was a key ‘digital’ revenue earner for local newspapers before it was discontinued around 2015. It will be interesting to see how much traction the newspaper gets.
The Financial Gazette is an online and weekly business newspaper. The company is owned by Modus Publications, which is in turn owned by Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe. Called Fingaz for short, the newspaper was established in 1969. Read More
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) is the regulatory authority of Zimbabwe's telecommunications sector and was established in terms of the country's Postal and Telecommunications Act Chapter 12:05. POTRAZ was established in February 2001 Read More
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, a subsidiary of Econet Wireless International, is the first and largest mobile network services provider in Zimbabwe. The telecoms giant became popular with its products and services such as Buddie. It has established branches in different corners of the country and enjoys a subscriber base of more than 9 million, undoubtedly the largest in Zimbabwe. Among other services, it has acclaimed dominance in telecommunications services, providing solutions in mobile, fixed telephony services, internet and satellite access and payment solutions, and mobile money services. Read More