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Innovative African mobile company wins prestigious UN award

The South African based research and development arm of the international telecommunications group, Telfree, has been awarded the Outstanding Regional Achievement Award for Excellence in Mobile Content at the United Nations World Summit Award (WSA) for its Telfree MzansiSMS product.

This is the first time an African mobile company has been recognised by the WSA.

Innovative usages, applications and content for mobile phones are fast creating a powerful new market – covering m-Business and m-Government to m-Health and m-Empowerment. In response to this rapid development, The World Summit Award Mobile (WSA-mobile) was created to recognise excellence in the mobile realm. The WSA brings together the world’s best mobile content and most innovative cell phone applications from over 100 countries and regions.

Organised by the International Center for new Media (ICNM) in Salzburg, The World Summit Award Mobile is a global initiative within the framework of, and in cooperation with, the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), in collaboration with UNESCO, UNIDO and UN GAID.

In winning this award which was made at an illustrious event held in Abu Dhabi recently, Telfree joins the ranks of other great global mobile players such as Marks and Spencer Mobile Commerce (UK), Angry Birds (Finland), M.Guardian.co.uk (UK), and WellDoc Diabetes Manager System (USA).

Telfree’s MzansiSMS aims to bring the lowest-cost SMS rates in the country to needy South Africans. Thanks to MzansiSMS, the lesser fortunate can enjoy cheaper cell phone services – a move that has radically transformed the mobile landscape in South Africa, where often the poorest have been paying the highest rates for mobile services.

The MzansiSMS service is delivered via a small, easily downloadable application for mobile phones in South Africa, accessible on most mobile devices with colour screens. MzansiSMS can reduce the cost per SMS to less than one cent, truly democratising the use of the mobile phone.

Walter Betschel, Global Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for TelFree, says of the award and MzansiSMS: “TelFree is parenting mobile application development in Africa … for us, it’s about doing something with passion. We don’t just talk about it – we get on with it and this award is proof that we are walking the talk.”

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