Free SMS Zimbabwe launches. Our brief take on it

Posted by Read 14 Comments

How would you like using the internet to send free SMSs that have adverts appended? Something like “How are you Sumba? – Send money to Zimbabwe with ABC Zim Ltd,www.abczimltd.com”. Really, we would love to know, please comment below. In the meantime, here’s more about the this new service.

The service is called Free SMS Zimbabwe and is available on www.text.co.zw. It has been launched by a Zim startup based in the UK. They have offices in Harare as well. As far as we can tell, the founder is Pearson Pfavayi who is also involved with a UK based hosting company called Zimhosts.com. Pearson Pfavayi does web and hosting work for popular news site NewZimbabwe.com which first covered his new project 2 days ago.

Yesterday, we received a Press Release (download) from the company. The service basically allows users a maximum of 10 text message a day. The messages are free and in exchange Free SMS Zimbabwe appends an advert to the SMS. Users can send the messages from any web enabled device.

The concept itself is not new. I remember using a similar service on www.sms.co.zw (now defunct) back in 2006. Zimbabwe’s total internet users then were well below a million so this sure is a different case.

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While internet penetration has improved to allow more people access to such a service, the improved penetration has also meant more access to internet chat services like Facebook Chat and instant messaging aggerators like NimbuzzeBuddy and MXit, which basically combine all internet instant messaging services into one neat chatting package. These reduce the success chances of Free SMS Zimbabwe greatly.

The other issue is this; one of the most Googled terms referring visitors to Techzim is Econet’s “eTXT”. The reason is that Econet has been promoting this service a lot since it launched in March this year, and we have a couple of articles on it. The title of one of the articles we did on eTXT sums up our opinion on it: “Econet launches eTXT, erases line between SMS and the Internet”. On this one, free SMS Zimbabwe has basically come to the party a little too late on this one.

Free SMS Zim offers other SMS based services as well, including bulk SMS.

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14 Comments

  1. Great initiative! I was looking for something of this sort for a small campaign sometime ago.

  2. Grad de Zimunya says:

    Etxt from econet now works like sms coz for every chat msg you are charged the cost of an sms. This is a great disadvantage and made me never to use the etxt again. I only use it to send to people sms when I am online ie I send a chat msg which will be received as an sms.

  3. Wburwa says:

    Econet’s eTxt is gentle disguised as a free service yet its the most expensive sms service. Fine you will receive facebook and google chats on the mobile but when u respond it will cost you 7c. its deliberately designed to work as sms service on the phones which is much pricer than data services.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Cool service!!! Just registered, and as a natural Zimbo m always happy when m using freebies!!! Thanx http://www.etext.co.zw

  5. Anonymous says:

    I hope they do not sell peoples details to these advertising companies. Privacy must be maintained. Privacy and security will be the next big challenges for mobile subscribers in Africa in the future.

  6. Lon says:

    @innovatorZim:disqus  you are absolutely correct. There is nothing for mahala on the net, there is alwyas a tradeoff behind the scenes. Most organisations are  now using crowd sourcing and gathering details of pple  from freebies and then use them for marketing. once you register your details will be sold to marketing companies and you will be stung will thousanges of txtx or emails……the neo business  is based on breaching privacy to gather details from naive customers , they did it in diaspora and now they are comming to africa(which does not heave stringent privacy rules)

    1. Gary says:

      Lon and innovatorZim, if you suspect there is a catch then be INNOVATIVE and use pseudonyms rather than your actual details

      1. Crisnahh-z says:

        Thats very true. I did notice that you have to agree to their terms and conditions when registering so l supose if you do not want to receive any future adverts then there is one way- dont sign up. The FREE SMS Zimbabwe also states that they will be giving out shortcodes meaning you will awoid all the hassle of having to pay the $1200 license needed by potraz and also avoid the next to impossible contract between you and the network providers as they need you to proove to them that you will be abke to channel through atleast 10 000 sms per week or so.
        Im not sure whats in it for them as they say you tell them hw much u want to charge the shortcode from 20cents to a max of 82cents and you keep the difference after network provider has taken their 9cents for the txt and 50% of the remaining amount.

  7. MMP says:

    Hey, whats the catch? Is the mobile account receiving the sms not charged?

    1. Is the mobile account receiving the sms not charged?

      the mobile account is only charged when it responds to the message.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You could also try biNu which offers free SMS and no adverts! Also news, weather, sports, search and more in the same app.  Download at m.binu.com.

  9. ah says:

    binu i like. this text.co.zw is no longer free

  10. Mwanawenhu says:

    I understand http://www.myzimbabwe.co.zw has its own free sms service that allows you to send free sms to any cell number in the world for free. Herald wrote about this website in the Herald Edition for Saturday 17 September i think. But how really does this sms thing work.

  11. Text to a phone allows you to send an SMS message from your cell, then converted to voice when the receiver pick up his landline phone upon it rings. When someone picks up the landline handset, the text message that was sent will be heard and can reply back to you with one of the available responses. 

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