Zimpapers, the government owned and largest media house in Zimbabwe by circulation, revealed through adverts in newspapers today the introduction of its SMS and USSD news services that will be launched on the 1st of May.
It was just a few months ago, sitting with the CEO who had moved back into the country after working as a successful starter-up in the US. The interview part hadn’t started and I was shaking a bit (he had come to pick me up in a classy vehicle and drove me to his classy house so yes I’m not used to being so..I don’t know). He was narrating his experiences in the States and how you could earn big from the silliest of apps or nothing from a huge idea. Then he leaned forward, reached in his pocket and brought out a monochrome phone and said “If you want to be big in Africa, you can’t go wrong with mobile. This is the only way. The regular guy knows SMS…[bla bla bla]“. I nodded and shook (50-50). He was definitely not the first to tell me this, and wasn’t the last but I wasn’t and still am not convinced.
Classifieds (and business directories), like Social Networking, are a favourite with local tech startups. Very much so you’d think with all this work addressing the classifieds problem, it’d be solved by now. That an ordinary person would be able to easily post an ad to platform with any device they have and within minutes be getting calls, and hopefully by the end of the day have a couple of serious leads. You know, the way it works when you throw a classified ad in the paper.
You’ve probably used eTXT a number of times. If not you then at least someone you chat with on Facebook, on Gtalk or just someone you exchange emails with has used the service from a basic SMS only (no internet) mobile phone to communicate with you. ForgetMeNot Africa, the company behind the eTXT platform, has [...]
Natural disasters always have casualties when they strike, and the drama goes on after the strike when family and friends have no one to answer them when they call to check who made it out and who didn’t. Although a simple phone call can be made, it’s usually not enough to check on all your acquaintances to check on you as well as for you to check on them.
The one thing clear about telecoms in Africa is that basic phones still rule. There’s another thing too clear to ignore; it is that people on the continent love Facebook. Facebook is so popular, for many Africans Facebook’s the first point of contact with the Internet. Orange has woken up to this fact. The mobile operator will be launching Facebook via USSD in Africa.