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Even as Web apps proliferate, text messaging lives on in Africa

Vince Matinde | June 19, 2015
African telecommunications companies for years have fought off what they say is unfair competition by Web-based apps, but even though text messaging services from the legacy providers have been hit hard, they are clinging to life as people find new ways to use them.

Customer relations software Ongair, meanwhile, uses text messaging as one option for communicating with its customers.

Ongair CEO Trevor Kimenye concedes that use of text messaging is waning, however. "Yes, there has been a large reduction in usage of text as many businesses see OTT messaging as a more cost-effective replacement to SMS."

Kimenye, however, says that due to its universal reach, traditional texting will never disappear completely and that the technology is now often used by businesses for transactional messages.

Startup TotoHealth, a site dedicated to providing health information to parents, uses text messages to communicate with users. For example, it sends out timely, informational text messages to pregnant women and mothers, geared to the length of pregnancy or the age of the newborn.

With such uses, it looks like text messaging will not die in Africa anytime soon.


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