Apr 13, 2012

Somaliland: Improved Communications Technology

A new service has been launched in Somaliland which will provide users with email-to-text message compatibility, and in turn lead to an ease in how people communicate for work and leisure purposes.

Below is an article published by the Somaliland Sun:

Work to provide email-to-mobile service to nearly 1 million mobile subscribers in Somaliland has been completed, officially with Somaliland.

The new service will provide email-to-text message compatibility.

A popular Telesom new service gives users the convenience to access emails via their mobile phones without relying on cyber cafes.

Telesom is preparing to launch the long-awaited service in the next few weeks after partnering with American multinational Internet and software corporation Google to deliver the technology, said Mohamud Hajji Abdirahman, head of Telesom's international department.

Telesom partnered with Google to provide the new service, which will allow Google users to communicate with Telesom customers through free text messages.

Last month, Google representative for Sub-Saharan Africa Divan Lan surveyed Telesom's equipment at company's Hargeisa headquarters ahead of the awaited launch.

Under the partnership, Gmail users worldwide will be able to send email messages to Telesom mobile numbers that can then delivered to the Telesom subscriber via text message. Phone users can then be able to respond via text message as well, converting emails into mobile text messages would allow Telesom users who do not have access to the Internet opportunities to communicate more efficiently.

This frees individuals from constantly searching for cyber-cafés, as it is not always possible to find computer access.

With this service, users will be able to quickly reply to messages because they can carry their phones everywhere.

The service will have a big impact on how people will communicate for work and leisure purposes, said Abdi Osman Ali, an information technology professional in Hargeisa. "It shows the progress Somaliland has been able to achieve in terms of communications [technology]," he said.

The Telesom-Google partnership is important for reasons beyond the text-to-email service they will provide, according to economist Abdirahman Aden Ismail.

Said he "the agreement is significant because it creates a precedent for other big international companies to invest in Somaliland." However he also added "It could lead Telesom to partner with other international companies"

Telesom was founded in 2001 by a group of Somalis, some of whom were living abroad, to provide a wide range of telecommunication services to users in the region.

The company was the first mobile provider to bring the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) standard to Somalia, which allows subscribers to roam, among other features.

Last year, the company introduced the 3G network to Somaliland and now services more than 1 million residents in Somaliland in a estimation.

The company hopes to partner with Google again to develop services that boost the economy and specifically address private-sector needs.