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MXit, A Mobile Social Network For Africa

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MXit Logo

MXit LogoI’ll confess that I only came to know about MXit just a few weeks ago. I should have known it earlier, like a few years back maybe. In this age of Facebook, the influence MXit has on social interaction in South Africa is nothing short of a phenomenon. According to the MXit entry on Wikipedia, the network is 27 million members strong and signing up some 40,000 subscribers every day. Now that’s something.

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MXit is a mobile phone based instant messaging application built by Namibian born South African, Herman Heunis. The application transmits messages through mobile data services like 3G and GPRS.

MXit is more than just instant messaging though; it has chat rooms, mobile advertising, and even has its own ‘economy’. The economy is based on a MXit virtual currency called Moola and subscribers use this to purchase games, music, wallpapers, skins and other stuff.

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It’s not clear how many people use MXit in Zimbabwe, and I would imagine not that many. The reason ofcourse is that Zimbabweans are only starting to have meaningful mobile phone internet now. So it’s not too difficult to predict a rise in subscriber numbers coming out of Zim, especially from the youth.

If you have the time, there’s a 39 minute video here on Net Prophet. The video is a presentation by the founder. It has great detail about MXit’s growing pains and the challenges the company has faced as a startup in Africa.

Are you using MXit? Let us know in the comments.


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19 thoughts on “MXit, A Mobile Social Network For Africa

  1. i’ve used mxit and i must say those guys did a gr8 job. of coz some of their concepts are based on American Collaboration sites but still it is a great product…

  2. Mxit is a great platform. Really inexpensive to use. You can transfer files and stuff on it as well. Been on it for a number of years now. Unfortunately it has also led to some kids becoming victims of sexual offenders, although this can admittedly happen on any virtual platform.

  3. mxit is kul. Me im using my RSA id to chat whilst in Zimbabwe becoz for zimba there is actually zero info in any mxit links for eg under mxit 4 exchange. But with publicity 4rm us guys who already knw abt it . I think its goner florish.

  4. “So it’s not too difficult to predict a rise in subscriber numbers coming out of Zim, especially from the youth.”

    Perhaps! and we should see a rise in numbers. How that’s going to be possible given current internet prices by some unscrupulous players is anyone’s guess.
    Mxit is an example of an internet business some of our enterprising young Zimbabwean should be capable of conceiving. Given barriers to entry due to extortionate internet prices, this will remain an elusive dream indeed!

  5. I started using it 3 months ago on my phone to log into my messagers its nice havent tried the other stuff.

  6. MXit is a great product. I have used it, I sometimes use it but because I have relatively cheap internet and loads of free text messages in Namibia I find no reason to us this platform. The truth of the matter is that mobile communications in South Africa is expensive and MXit becomes the next best alternative to texting and communicating with friends. I do agree wi JamesM that we need to see something come out of Zimbabwe.

  7. Okay, I believe I am one of the mobile chat gurus out here. When I started using mobile internet sometime back last year, I went on to try out most of the mobile chat clients and I can give a comprehensive review on them.
    On first place when it comes to being cheap or low on data usage I put mxit. It uses only 6kb for login and will use 100kb in more than an hour. Thats what I call being efficient. U can still intergrate it with your facebook, gmail, msn, and yahoo messenger(the last two are having problems at the moment). For more entertainment, there is Chess and Tixi where u can play with real players elswhere in the world. There is also Accuweather.com which actualy gives me a good weather forecast in the morning.
    Next there is Nimbuzz, which is better but very expensive on its data usage. It can reach a meg data usage in an hour an uses more than 100k to login.
    I have used all these chat clients on a Nokia n95 and Samsung sgh-u800.
    Next u should try mig33, i rank it in between nimbuzz and mxit on both data usage and efficiency.
    Others are qweep, ebuddy etc… I didnt review ebuddy coz I think it is the same as nimbuzz less the VoIP and Twitter.

  8. Have intermittently used MIXIT for chats only though, for sure its cheaper on the data usage and its also fast and easy to use. Can one make VOIP calls from a 3g phone. I heard of some platforms where you can do so. If there is, please advise

  9. Fring is another alternative. It provides an integrated platform for messenger services like Googletalk, MSN, Yahoo, AIM, Twitter and so on. It also used to support Skype, and at that time i could make good quality Video calls on my Nokia E71, something you can’t do on the Symbian S60v3 Skype application. But then again, i connected through ZolSpots which have massive bandwidth, so that might have been a factor. Skype was later removed from Fring over some legal issues. I haven’t made a detailed analysis of the efficiency yet but i think it’s worth trying out.

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