South African mobile cellular phone companies have been praised for implementing a free “Call Me Back” short messages (SMS) information technology.

Speaking at the inauguration of Mobile Web Africa conference in Sandton, Johannesburg on Wednesday, executive chairman for Krazyboyz Digital, Zibusiso Mkhwananzi, said the innovative information technology was simple and a popular way of communication for those who may not have airtime to send billed SMSes or make a call.

“Voice and data messages are very expensive in this country (South Africa) thereby discouraging telephone calls by most local communities.

“I would suggest that our local communities (in townships) utilize such technologies by packaging the mobile cellphones (Call Me Back) with contents that are sustained by advertising,” said Mkhwananzi.

The two-day Mobile Web Africa conference was mainly focusing on harnessing the potential of the internet and applications on mobile devices aimed at improving people’s standards of life through affordable and readily accessible technology.

Mkhwananzi was one of the panelists during the discussing on “Creating Africa’s New Generation of Mobile Designers, Entrepreneur and Success”.

However, programme manager for Web Foundation/W3C, Stephane Boyera, said SMSes were not made for people who could neither read nor write.

“It has to be appreciated that SMSes are not for people who can’t read or write. Voice message is the answer to those that can’t read or write.

“They simply talk. They have voices,” said Boyera.

The conference drew information communication technology (ICT) experts from as far as Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Algeria.

Other issues discussed during the conference included topics on how to enhance the development of the technology ecosystem, reaching out to communities that may not be easy to touch base with, seizing the opportunity of the potential of mobile services and content, contributing towards bridging the digital divide by informing, involving and empowering.

The Mobile Web Africa conference is the first of its kind in Africa and it is expected to be conducted annually on a rotational basis around the continent.

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