No sooner had we posted the article (and our thoughts) on Free SMS Zimbabwe yesterday than we got pointed to a free SMS service by ForgetMeNot Africa (FMNA). The service is called Dasuba. It’s still in Beta for now but it’s available to anyone with access to the web. Just go to www.dasuba.com to give it a try. Currently though, you can only send messages to the Econet mobile network.
The concept is somewhat similar to the eTXT service FMNA already has on the Econet network. In fact, it probably runs on the same core system. It is completely free sending text messages to mobile phones; it’s the recipient of the SMS who, when they reply, they are charged their regular local SMS fee by the mobile operator (7 cents Zimbabwe’s case).
Like eTXT, registration is quick and painless. Adding SMS contacts is also very straightforward and has some checks to restrict SMS spam. So, we loved it. It’s one of those services you can easily dedicate a web browser tab to, so you can have all day free SMS access to your contacts.
Unlike the Free SMS Zimbabwe service we covered, Dasuba is not supported by adverts. The SMS message comes to the recipient clean. It looks something like this: <Dasuba.com: SenderName> Hey there, uri bho?
There are also no limitations on the number of messages per day (or to a number). In fact, Dasuba encourages more of a chat scenario than just SMS as this makes FMNA more revenue in replies from the mobile phone user.
The huge downside for now is that Dasuba only sends messages to the Econet network. Econet has about 70% of the local mobile market so this is not exactly a deal breaker, but still it would be great to be able to reach the other 30%. It’s not clear yet if Econet will play a part promoting the service the way it did with eTXT. We’l try to find out this and more from Econet & FMNA.
Dasuba is also available in Nigeria and Kenya, so if you have contacts in these countries (provided they’re on a participating mobile network), it just got free sending them SMS.
FMNA is 51% owned by Lon Zim, a specialist African investor; and 49% by ForgetMeNot Software, the creators and owners of the core technology running the services.
UPDATE: changed the charge of an SMS from a mobile phone to the Dasuba platform from 9 cents to 7 cents.