Digital Content

CellSmart Technologies, a mobile messaging applications development company, has signed a deal with Yarona FM, a youth commercial radio station based in Botswana, to provide its listeners with interactive radio using their mobile handsets.

CellSmart, based in the Western Cape, started operating in 2003 as a small and medium enterprise (SME). The company focuses on developing messaging infrastructure, backend software and client solutions. It recently opened offices in Johannesburg and plans to establish branches nationwide.

Justin Barkhuizen, marketing and business development manager at CellSmart, says the company tapped into the mobile market by developing its own messaging gateway service platform, multimedia message service gateways and unstructured supplementary services data (USSD) gateways based on GSM technology for the corporate and SME market.

“The Yarona FM deal is the beginning of an African market presence and forms part of our strategic focus to break barriers and challenge conventions. These partnerships primarily assist CellSmart to gain market share and realise rapid return on investments. We are presently in negotiations with similar companies locally and on the rest of the continent,” says Barkhuizen.

CellSmart also signed an exclusive partnership with Etel, an ICT company that operates in Botswana. IceMobile, a mobile content company, has also approached it to develop and host technical infrastructure.

Barkhuizen believes local wireless application service providers have made great strides in the development of the ICT industry by remaining innovative.

He says CellSmart faces similar challenges faced by most SMEs in the country. “The barriers to entry are obviously high within this industry and all SMEs experience the difficulty of competing with resource-rich corporates.”

Barkhuizen says the company has overcome this hurdle by breaking with the traditional approach used by most competitors. “We chose to develop all our solutions internally.”

CellSmart plans to introduce new features this year, including mobisodes, a mini clip of a unique episode of a particular TV show that can be viewed on a cellphone using 3G; a USSD, a session-oriented method of transmitting information or instructions over a GSM network; an online billing system; and an interactive voice response solution.