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MTN offers cheap mobile Internet for feature phones

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MTN has introduced MTN SurferLite, a pilot project that is designed to provide customers with feature phones access to the Internet at a minimal cost.

The MTN SurferLite platform allows customers access to digital information and entertainment on feature and basic Java-enabled phones.

Says Peter Malebye, MTN SA General Manager: ‚”The MTN SurferLite application provides an introductory data service to the digital world to customers by delivering an affordable experience that allows non-internet-customers access to content that is otherwise only available on an internet enabled phone.‚”

The MTN SurferLite solution is designed to provide mass market consumers with access to news, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, MTN Football, NBA Scores, Dictionary, Translations, Love Quotes, Sudoku and much more. It is planned to extend the capabilities of the platform in future to also include accessibility to e-gov services, local health and education related matters, job search and others.

The cost is 5c per click-through that the customer initiates (i.e. opening Facebook), which adds to R5 per 100 click-throughs. According to an MTN spokesperson, this made the service the most affordable Internet experience in the market. There’s no charge for a reply message in these services, even if the reply contains more than one message.

Says Malebye, ‚”We recognise the gap between current content access solutions available in the market and what consumers really need: simplicity, affordability and relevance. We are piloting this service because it is an end-to-end solution which is tailored to the local needs of our consumers and also has the flexibility to grow with them. With this platform, we hope to not only address the growing needs for access to basic internet content by a large portion of the South African population while leveraging other broadband technologies that MTN has built.‚”

The platform was developed by Mobile-XL, a California-based technology company with a mission to bridge the digital divide by connecting families, friends, communities and businesses using SMS. Mobile-XL products are revolutionary in providing connectivity to areas with limited, unreliable or expensive internet access.

‚”We are pleased to have been selected by MTN to showcase the capabilities of our platform for the benefit of South Africans,‚” says Guy Kamgaing, Mobile-XL CEO. “Our goal is to make access to mobile content, information and services available to all people regardless of device or delivery channel.””

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