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Econet launches eTXT, erases line between SMS and the Internet

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A little more than 3 weeks ago, we reported that Econet was working to launch eTXT, an application that allows you to communicate seamlessly with Email, Chat, and social networks through basic SMS. The service was live when we posted the article but you could only access it if you knew it existed.

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Well, eTXT is now officially available to the public on www.etxt.co.zw. Econet has started advertising the service. Like we said last time, this is one product we think is going to be a game changer. The potential impact on increasing accessibility to internet services even for people not connected to the internet is very significant. In fact, it blurs the line of what it means to be connected to the internet.

Communication between a basic SMS-able phone (in other words, every mobile phone under the sun) and internet services just happens almost effortlessly.

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The application itself is a product of ForgetMeNot Africa and has already been launched on some networks across Africa, Including Econet Lesotho.

You can read our previous report on eTXT to get an idea of how it works. The ForgetMeNot Africa video below also explains graphically the concept of eTXT.


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26 thoughts on “Econet launches eTXT, erases line between SMS and the Internet

  1. Its working for me perfectly. The pricing however must be revised. imagine, i am live on facebook chat and i get some dozens of text messages, which if I am on the internet cost next to zero cents. Now if i reply on my “sms only phone” i get charged 7cents. I guess thats a little oppressive of econet there, because they are making a lot of bucks out of Facebook’s free service.

  2. The service is quite okay, but such services should not be a quick fix to the internet disparities existing in the country. This etext service is an archaic invention and when such technologies are dumped into zimbabwe it means someone wants to reap someone as archaic technologies are reproduced to swindle us our monies. Myself I send close to fifty emails per day, my notifications, chats messages run into hundreds and if I am to use this etext service I will go broke since the service sets me back 7c per message. Apart from that this service is going to damage people eyes and thumbs as they try to clear their conversations loops. Its sad that when we expect Econet to launch services as voip and webtv they are taking us down memory land.

    1. not sure I understand. Making it possible for you to send emails using SMS is, in your opinion a bad thing?

      1. sending an email via sms in 2011 does not make sense. it could have made sense if we were in the early or late 2000. Who would want to be charged 7 cents to send an email?

        1. You do realise there are millions of mobile subscribers who don’t have access to the internet right? These subscribers don’t have smart phones.

          Did you watch the video in the article to get what scenarios this is for?

          1. thats true, if yourself you were charged 7 cents per message you might have gone broke by now, yet you are much more financial secure than the rural folk who you want to adopt the platform. The thing is that people will have the internet which they might not be able to use because of cost and the technlogy will be sort of some top to bottom platform which will be weak on interchange. I told my friend in Chipinge to sign up for the service and I had been sending him stories from the web and over the past week and at first he liked it but right now he is now asking me to remove him from some alerts and stuff like that. He told me that his battery wasn’t lasting much and the MORE 100 procedure is frustrati

            1. Scenario:

              You apply for a job from an internet cafe because you don’t have an internet connection on your phone. You get a call 1 week later on your cell phone while you are in the Roots and a secretary tells you that you have been shortlisted for an interview and her manager will send the interview day to your email address that day!

              What would you do?
              Would you still think this is useless?

              THIS IS A GREAT PRODUCT!!!

  3. thats true, if yourself you were charged 7 cents per message you might have gone broke by now, yet you are much more financial secure than the rural folk who you want to adopt the platform. The thing is that people will have the internet which they might not be able to use because of cost and the technlogy will be sort of some top to bottom platform which will be weak on interchange. I told my friend in Chipinge to sign up for the service and I had been sending him stories from the web and over the past week and at first he liked it but right now he is now asking me to remove him from some alerts and stuff like that. He told me that his battery wasn’t lasting much and the MORE 100 procedure is frustrating.

  4. “it blurs the line of what it means to be connected to the internet.” A bit of some classic media sensationalism there!

  5. “it blurs the line of what it means to be connected to the internet.” A bit of some classic media sensationalism there!

    Being connected to the internet means a lot more than SMSs and social networks. It will be a game changer, YES! but blurring an lines?, no not yet!

    1. use of “blur” there does not mean “removed”, Before this episode, being connected to the internet meant having a real internet connection. Basic SMS was to another phone. That’s not the case anymore. Having an SMS-able phone means you are connected to the internet, albeit not the whole internet, hence the blurred line.

      1. Check your article title, it says:
        “Econet launches eTXT, E-R-A-S-E-S line between SMS and the Internet”

        you then say:
        “use of ‘blur’ there does not mean ‘removed'”

        Let’s see is this classic media contradiction now?

        1. Ok, maybe the title does shout a bit too much. You got me. We’re excited about the many possibilities this brings!

  6. seems like some guys here value technology so much and think that any new invention is is a great product. if i was to ask what benefit one gets from using facebook, no one will properly answer that, sometimes these technologies need to be interrogated in understanding whether they have any benefit as newness is not ingenuity. we are still to know whether the prior service launched by econet called infotext, some of you dont even know it, whether it did help people as was said during its launch.

    1. we may not be able to exhaustively discuss the usefulness of Facebook here. But one indication Facebook is not useless is the number of companies locally beginning to have some corporate presence on Facebook. There must be something attracting them there, no?

  7. Certainly two way communication that spans the global space is a good thing. I am not expert of social networking but i can tell you i have about 182 real friends most of whom are my childhood friends. Before the internet and facebook we all had to wait for christmas or at times at funerals to meet and share old memories. It was not financial possible back then to chat with dozens of your friends scattered across the globe from the comfort of your office on a daily basis. Its all history now. Again, I do not know what this means psychologically to our modern society, chances are we could headed towards the next dimension of cultural evolution, particularly the culture of openness and transparency. Yes you are now more accountable to all those 100s of facebook friends like it or not. So…internet access via sms is truely a beautiful digiture!!

  8. Here is what i was able to do a few days ago to save my $ on responding to facebook chats sent to my mobile via sms (econet etxt service). I own an aging htc touch pro which is internet capable. It runs windows mobile 6.1 (ancient by global standards). I have an app store on my phone called omarket (you can google and download this with ease). I searched on the omarket for an application that could allow me to sent and receive facebook and gtalk chats via the internet. I found dozens of such apps. I looked for those with good review reports and stumbled apon one called palringo. This app allows u to do both your facebook and gtalk chats as long as u are connected to the net. Ok its not 100% free but here is the good part.

    I did an experiment and juiced up my fully charged phone with $1. I do not use this phone for voice calls, its solely for my mobile net. I was able to spend the whole day responding to dozens and dozens of chats (hundreds of sms could be possible). I kept checking for the balance, well on a 3 decimal balance of my airtime, it was only the last digit that was moving (1/1000 of a dollar). At times it was just fixed. What really really got me impressed was the phone was pretty cool all the time so my battery was not being drained (skype makes my phone warm and at times almost hot). Not all the airtime was being used up for chat, a small but reasonable amount of airtime was used up by palringo application to maintain its internet connectivity but i was able to finish the whole 14 hours on a $1 and on top i made 2 skype calls. So hey we can still beat econet at its pricing-madness game!!! Lets do It!!

  9. The service is absolute trash as is witnessed by its low adoption. It is no different from Unix’s V editor and expecting my grandma to use it is banal. It is only fit for the rubbish bin mark my words.

  10. How do we find out how to convert to roaming with Econet when one spends hours trying to get through to their help line on 111 & eventually gives up? Never mind connect to the eText

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