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The Grid, Vodacom’s mobile social network, says it is “going global”. Following launches last year in Nigeria and Tanzania, from Thursday users worldwide can access the service that offers mobile chat and content sharing features.
Vodacom, a South African mobile service player, claims the service has two million members in South Africa, Nigeria and Tanzania. Up until now, these users were only able to chat and share content with other Grid members from their own country. Members could also chat to their Google Talk, MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger contacts from The Grid.
With this latest release, Grid members — irrespective of country or network operator — can become friends, chat to each other or share, rate and comment on photos and videos posted by the community.
The Grid was originally launched in South Africa in 2008 and has since developed into one of the country’s largest mobile social networks. It ranks behind outright market leader MXit, a predominantly J2Me mobile application offering chat and social network functionality. MXit claims user numbers that easily reach past the ten million mark.
In 2009 The Grid launched into both Tanzania and Nigeria, both developing African countries with high volumes of mobile web traffic. The international expansion makes it possible for anyone with a cellphone to sign up and join the social network at no subscription cost.
Operations will be based in South Africa with the infrastructure hosted locally by Vodacom Business in their Midrand Data Centre.
Says Phillip Boshielo, Executive Head at Vodacom Ventures: “This international roll-out represents yet another important milestone in the development of The Grid as a leading social network. It¹s also a milestone that I am particularly proud of. By making The Grid available to everyone everywhere, we’re harnessing the full power of the mobile web to create a truly global meeting place.”
The Grid can be accessed through its mobi site at http://wap.thegrid.co.za.