SMS as we know it today, or rather as mobile network operators abuse it today, needs to go away. It’s so damn expensive. US 9 cents just to send 140 characters is undoubtedly the most costly means to communicate electronically today. And thankfully it is going away. Not fast enough but it is; one innovation at a time. WhatsApp, Dasuba, eTXT, Viber and biNu have all been delivering slow but sure blows on SMS and we’re always happy to share any news that will help you save a cent or two.
We were quite delighted therefore to read a biNu announcement (sent to us via WhatsApp) this week that the Australian startup’s biNu credits are now available locally on the Easi electronic prepaid services vending network. We wrote about Easi here some weeks ago; the company distributes airtime electronically via vending machines and now has about 200 vendors countrywide which makes for a significantly large network.
The thing about biNu credits is that you can buy 50 SMS messages for just a dollar and those SMS are not limited to local numbers only. For that same $1, Econet, Telecel and NetOne all give you just 4 SMS messages. Yes, it costs a pricey 22 cents minimum to send an international SMS on these networks. For local SMS, the mobile operators will sell you just 11 SMS messages on a dollar. Shocking yes what our telecoms regulator lets them get away with!
The Zimbabwe representatives of biNu tell us they are finalizing arrangements with YoTime to have biNu credits on their airtime as change solution at supermarkets. This will allow biNu users to receive biNu credits for their change, which is quite convenient seeing it’s taking forever for the change problem to go away.