LONDON Zimbabwe (LonZim)’s subsidiary, Forget Me Not Africa (FMNA) has acquired a US$1 million exclusive licence for a unified messaging system and message optimiser, which enables low cost internet messaging.
FMNA, which is 51% owned by LonZim, exercised its option to take the exclusive, perpetual licence for the unified messaging system and message optimiser following an initial trial investment in early 2009. Forget Me Not Hong Kong owns the remaining 49% shareholding.
LonZim on Tuesday said since the initial investment two years ago, FMNA had delivered significant progress in the deployment of its products such as mobile e-mail, on-line chat and Facebook solutions, signing up five African mobile network operators.
David Lenigas, Executive Chairman of LonZim, said: “FMNA has made astounding progress in a short time and in just 18 months has signed up access to networks with over 42 million subscribers in Africa. The purchasing of the perpetual licence establishes a solid foundation for the further expansion of the FMN product range across Africa.”
FMNA has established a network in Kenya, Nigeria, Lesotho and Republic of the Congo making access to mobile e-mail and on-line chat available to 42 million subscribers.
The telecommunications company also has agreements with Econet Telecom of Lesotho, Econet Zimbabwe, Glo Mobile in Nigeria, Safaricom and yu in Kenya and Warid in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Message Optimiser is deployed in mobile networks to enable access to low-cost internet messaging on first generation, SMS-enabled mobile phones.
Jeremy George, Chief Operating Officer for FMNA, said: “Internet access across Africa remains very low compared to the rest of the world, but the fast growth rate of mobile phone ownership means that mobile access may be the only way the vast majority of Africans ever access the internet, so the market potential for Message Optimiser is huge.”
George said by securing the perpetual licence, LonZim lent further mettle to FMNA’s objective of bridging the digital divide by turning the millions of basic handsets on the continent into virtual messaging smart phones that can access email and other FMN applications.
Local telecommunications companies have value added on their networks offering new services including data, banking services and email.
Cellphone penetration rates have improved significantly in Zimbabwe where the three mobile network providers share more than six million subscribers.
LonZim is listed on the LSE Alternative Investment Markets and has been using its subsidiary to penetrate the telecommunications market in East and southern Africa.
The core product used is the message optimiser which allows telecommunication operators to immediately provide comprehensive cost-effective, unified messaging services to all of their customers without any upgrades to the device or any need for downloading new applications onto the device.
This opens up a range of previously inaccessible services to many of their customers including two-way email and two-way instant messaging communication capability.