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Published on May 15, 2012
The first internet-free mobile Facebook, email and online chat app platform outside of Africa has been launched in the Caribbean by ForgetMeNot Software. The new service, vSocial (www.vsocial.viva.com.do), enables mobile operator Viva's 700,000 subscribers to use internet-free apps to send and receive internet messaging on any SMS-enabled mobile phone.
Paul Roberts, Director of ForgetMeNot Software, said: "Investors should be looking to mobile markets in Latin America as opportunities for both profit and philanthropy. In the Dominican Republic Viva is transforming its subscribers' use of their mobile phones by providing internet-free Facebook, email and online chat apps on any mobile handset, from an entry level feature phone up to the latest smartphone. The internet-free mobile app environment provides the opportunity to change the relationship that mobile subscribers in Latin America and across the world have with their phones, regardless of the make or model of the handsets.
Mobile internet subscriptions in the Dominican Republic are extremely low in comparison to the population's demand for the Internet. Nearly 40 per cent of the Dominican Republic's 10 million inhabitants have access to the internet, of which 2.2 million are on Facebook. While there are 90 mobile subscriptions to every 100 people, only 2.4 per cent of the population have a mobile internet subscription, according to Internet World Stats. The Viva deployment instantly triples that figure, transforming even the most basic mobile handset into a virtual smartphone.
vSocial is built on ForgetMeNot Software's Optimiser Platform, which provides internet-free apps that convert Facebook actions and updates, emails and messages from chat services like Windows Live Messenger and GTalk into SMS and USSD format, and vice-versa. It bypasses the need for internet connections and does not require contracts, high end smartphones, software downloads or data connections. vSocial will provide every Viva customer with access to internet-free apps that offer easy to use, affordable social networking, email and online chat with friends, family, staff, suppliers and customers without having to invest in new technology, handsets or infrastructure.