The first two-way internet-free mobile Facebook, email and online chat app platform outside of Africa has been launched in the Caribbean by ForgetMeNot Software. The new service, vSocial, enables the Dominican Republic-based mobile operator Viva’s 700,000 subscribers to use internet-free apps on any SMS-enabled mobile phone.
While there are 90 mobile subscriptions to every 100 people in the Dominican Republic, only 2.4 per cent of the population have a mobile internet subscription. The Viva deployment instantly triples that figure, transforming even the most basic mobile handset into what ForgetMeNot describes as a “virtual smartphone”.
“Investors should be looking to mobile markets in Latin America as opportunities for both profit and philanthropy,” says ForgetMeNot Software director, Paul Roberts. “In the Dominican Republic, Viva is transforming its subscribers’ use of their mobile phones by providing internet-free Facebook, email and online chat apps on any mobile handset, from an entry level feature phone up to the latest smartphone. The internet-free mobile app environment provides the opportunity to change the relationship that mobile subscribers in Latin America and across the world have with their phones, regardless of the make or model of the handsets.
“As we continue the rollout of our services throughout the length and breadth of Africa through our subsidiary company ForgetMeNot Africa, the Viva launch extends our technology across growth regions into the Americas. The awareness of and demand for mobile apps and services is a worldwide phenomenon, but almost all app development has focused on the relatively small minority of mobile subscribers in developed markets who have smartphones and data access. ForgetMeNot Software has adapted the app business model to focus on the 3 billion mobile subscribers around the world who do not typically have the advantage of widespread internet and data access.”
vSocial is built on ForgetMeNot Software’s Optimiser Platform, which provides internet-free apps that convert Facebook actions and updates, emails and messages from chat services like Windows Live Messenger and GTalk into SMS and USSD format, and vice-versa. It bypasses the need for internet connections and does not require contracts, high end smartphones, software downloads or data connections.
ForgetMeNot Software is the parent company of ForgetMeNot Africa, which currently provides access to internet-free Facebook, email and online chat apps to over 60m people across East, West, Southern and Central Africa.