Social networking via the cell phone is the flavor of the moment in South Africa, with MTN and Vodacom both trying to make up ground lost to Mxit. Now there is yet another player in the local market: ubyou, launched by wireless service provider, Glocell Wireless Service Provider. But this isn’t simply another Instant Messaging system. It promises an entertainment based social networking platform rich with local flavor – including South African dialects.
Glocell Wireless Service Provider (GWSP) is offering cell phone users access to a new entertainment based social networking platform rich with local flavour.
Called ubyou, the first phase of the portal roll-out will offer wap-enabled users an interactive social networking experience based on entertainment content. The options will range from music to games to information services. Even with limited Internet connectivity, users will now be able to download music, comment on a game or catch up on astro predictions by visiting the portal at wap.ubyou.co.za.
“There are an estimated 18 million wap enabled mobile devices in the South African market,” says Gloria Ruhrmund, of GWSP. “It just makes sense to move social networking to a realm for more people to access and enjoy.”
Gloria Ruhrmund with Stuart Steedman, developer of ubyou
But, she says, ubyou should not be confused with instant messaging portals.
“We are not simply addressing the need for cheaper forms of communication, but are offering a virtual access point for people to express themselves within a community that holds similar interest.”
Access to the community is free; only network data fees apply. ubyou’s content will include local flavour, dialect and content to ensure that it reflects the community it is intended to serve.
Since May 2007, GWSP has invested an estimated R2-million in the wap.ubyou.co.za platform with a view to realising new revenue streams from advertising as well as the knock-on effects of downloads.
The second phase, due to be released soon, will include interactive gaming, an incentive point system to stimulate user interaction and strategic corporate partnerships to evolve the ubyou experience.
The portal was built by an in-house development team, headed by Stuart Steedman.