Teta App: New Instant Messaging Platform, South African Style

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Teta, a new instant messaging app from South African entrepreneurs Themba Moyo and Lisa Phendla, aims to take on WhatsApp by offering instant messaging that works when you have no airtime.

With the increased fees on data charges lately, the startup sure has potential to becoming WhatsApp’s biggest competitor in the country. The app will allow consumers to send messages, photos and even videos with a zero airtime balance, provided they’re on the Vodacom network.

“The mobile app is currently available to smartphone users on Vodacom in South Africa. It is built on a Vodacom-developed platform that is currently being used by Absa Bank to allow customer to access banking services even when they don’t have airtime on a data plan on their mobile phones.”
The app is currently available for download in Google’s Play Store and will be on Apple’s App Store in 2017.
“The business model is not dissimilar to Instagram, Facebook or Google in that it will be funded by advertising. Right now, electronic communication is a privilege. This is our attempt to solve an African problem, which is the cost of communication,” explains Moyo.

The proud co-founder said when they first approached Vodacom with their idea, the operator rejected it but after they explained to them what exactly it is we will be doing and the concessions they will make, they put together a model that works for both the company and themselves. Vodacom is now a service provider.

Although users require an Internet connection and enough airtime to send an SMS during the sign-up phase, further communication through the app is free of charge, provided they have a Vodacom Sim card in their handset.

The startup also plans on expanding its services to Telkom and MTN within the next year.

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