Internet messaging access in Zimbabwe doubles

Internet-free email and online chat SMS service revolutionises Zimbabwean communications Mobile email and online chat access in Zimbabwe will more than double with the launch of Econet
Wireless Zimbabwe’s new eTXT service.

Econet subscribers can now send and receive low-cost internet messaging via any standard SMScapable
mobile phone without being connected to the Internet.

Limited access

In June 2010, only one in eight Zimbabweans (1.4mn people) had access to the internet,
according to the International Telecommunications Union. Internet access in Zimbabwe had largely
been limited to workplaces, education establishments and Internet cafés in urban areas.

Now Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is transforming its five million mobile phone subscribers’ first
generation handsets into virtual smartphones, using technology provided by ForgetMeNot Africa, a
specialist in unified messaging systems for telecommunications operators.

Converting email to SMS

ForgetMeNot Africa’s unique Message Optimiser technology converts emails and online chat
messages into SMS format, and vice-versa. It bypasses the need for internet access, and does not
require subscriptions, smartphones, software downloads or data connections.

Douglas Mboweni, CEO of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, said: “eTXT allow more and more of our
subscribers to get access to internet messaging without having to purchase expensive smartphones.
Because it allows subscribers to go on-line irrespective of the type of mobile handset they are using,
eTXT will transform how millions of Zimbabweans stay in touch with each other.”

Major impact

The service incorporates popular chat services such as MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Windows Live and

The new service will have a major impact in bridging the rural-urban digital divide by vastly extending
internet penetration across rural and urban areas of Zimbabwe. The eTXT service will also be a vital
tool for large enterprises and small business owners, giving them a simple, low-cost method of
establishing two-way email and online chat communications with staff, sales reps, suppliers and
customers without having to invest in new technology, handsets or infrastructure.


Jeremy George, Chief Operating Officer of ForgetMeNot Africa, said: “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 five million Zimbabweans living overseas – using technology that
they’re familiar with.”

“eTXT is the sixth deployment of our unique technology in Africa as ForgetMeNot Africa expands its
footprint across the continent. Mobile network operators in east, west, southern and central Africa
have already successfully deployed Message Optimiser, instantly rocketing their subscribers’ access
to two-way email and chat.”

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