Kenyans get mobile email

Over 15 million mobile phone subscribers in Kenya, over a third of the country’s population, will now be able to access email and online chat regardless of the make and model of their mobile phone.

All standard phones with the ability to SMS are being transformed with the new Kipokezi service bringing low cost email and chat within the reach of millions of Kenyans, improving communications with their friends and families, both at home and abroad.

Kenya has seen blistering growth in mobile phone subscriptions. From just over 125,000 in 2000, latest figures from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) show there are now more than 17 million Kenyans with a mobile phone subscription.

The new Kipokezi service is being rolled out by Kenya’s largest telecoms operator,
Safaricom, suppliers of mobile phone connectivity for almost nine in 10 Kenyan mobile phone subscribers. The service will be available to Safaricom’s entire subscriber base and is provided by ForgetMeNot Africa, a specialist in unified messaging systems for telecommunications operators.

The most recent figures from the ITU, collected in 2008 and prior to the launch of Kipokezi in Kenya, show that fewer than one in ten resident Kenyans had accessed the internet.

Now over a third of Kenya’s population will be able to exchange email messages and online chat messages wherever they are and whenever they wish.

Safaricom CEO, Michael Joseph, said: “This service packs great value to our customers. They will be able to handle their business online, check mail, find information, chat and keep in touch from wherever they are in a fast and cost-efficient manner. The price of internet-ready phones has kept many Kenyans off the web, a trend we are determined to change. This innovation is also at one with our constant strategy of increasing the utility of the mobile phone and expanding the reach of our data product.”

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