A new service in Zimbabwe aims to help more people use Instant Messaging (IM) via mobile phones.
The eTXT service from Econet Wireless Zimbabwe allows users to access online chat via SMS, without the need for an internet-connected smartphone. Econet subscribers can send and receive low-cost messages via any standard SMS-capable mobile phone.
Using technology provided by ForgetMeNot Africa, a specialist in unified messaging systems for telecommunications operators, Econet will be able to convert emails and online chat messages into SMS format, and vice-versa.
"eTXT allows more and more of our subscribers to get access to internet messaging without having to purchase expensive smartphones," says Douglas Mboweni, CEO of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. "Because it allows subscribers to go online irrespective of the type of mobile handset they are using, eTXT will transform how millions of Zimbabweans stay in touch with each other."
The service incorporates popular chat services such as MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Windows Live, and Google Talk.
Jeremy George, chief operating officer of ForgetMeNot Africa, says: "The launch of eTXT is another important stride in Zimbabwe's plans to develop its communications infrastructure. Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is revolutionising its subscribers' communications with friends and relatives - both in Zimbabwe and the estimated 5m Zimbabweans living overseas - using technology that they're familiar with."