Connect anywhere in the world on MyWitness

2008-05-21 00:00

If you know how to connect to the Internet via your cellphone, MyWitness is the latest thing you should get on. It is the cheapest way to communicate with another user anywhere in the world. At this point, many people’s attention may dwindle. After all, connecting to the Internet is what computers are for, aren’t they? Yes. But if your phone has GPRS (or simply, an Internet option on the menu), this article is for you.

The MyWitness platform (which is fully WAP enabled and thus accessible via your cellphone) is a cellular service that functions independently of the major cellphone networks (MTN, Vodacom, CellC, etc). What this means is that it offers its own unique service, and more importantly, charges its own rates — which is far less than the major networks charge.

MyWitness offers an easy (and fast) way to do mobile Internet online banking, chat to family and friends, shop via your mobile for cellular-related products, send messages cheaply, receive daily news, search the Internet and share media files such as music, pictures and video — all from your cellphone. It even offers the option of setting up your own simple website.

The majority of cellphone owners simply use their phones to make and receive calls and messages. Platforms such as MXIT have offered the cheapest way to communicate via your cellphone up until now.

Never used your phone to connect to the Internet before? Watch the link below to see how simple it is.

MyWitness offers a service called G-chat which has the same functionality as MXIT. The only cost that is involved is the two cents network fee to go online which is regulated by Icasa. This is basically the cost of being online via your cellphone.

To put the cost of this chat service into perspective: one person in Thailand chatted to his wife in South Africa via MyWitness G-Chat over the course of 12 days. His entire communication bill? Less than R1 — and that’s because he had to send three SMSs (charged at just 25 cents) over that period to tell her to go online.

Mobile banking — Internet banking via a mobile platform

If you are familiar with Internet banking, mobile banking is basically the same thing except you use a cellphone instead of a computer.

Registration requires an ID number which automatically creates a personal bank (debit) account for the user. The currency on MyWitness is measured in Goins, which is regulated worldwide. In South African currency (ZAR), one Goin is equal to one cent.

As an example, students with parents who live in another city or even another country who are registered on MyWitness can transfer money into the students account at the cost of 60 c irrespective of the amount. Members will also be able to get an ATM or debit card when MyWtiness implements phase two.

Mobile shopping

MyWitness allows one to purchase airtime for Vodacom, MTN, CellC and Virgin networks, as well as cellular-related products such as wallpapers and ringtones. The actual money in your bank account that you wish to have in your eWallet account is converted into Goins.

Advanced features

If you’ve ever wanted your own website or space on the World Wide Web, MyWitness offers you the opportunity to set one up. Although it is very simple it allows you to publish content in the form of text, images and video.

The MyWitness platform also features a “What’s up” option. This can provide you with the latest news headlines from the Witness and provide you with an events diary of what’s on in your area.

What will it cost me?

Signing up for an account costs R1,50 (SMS cost). A password will be sent to your cellphone via SMS. From there, using MyWitness is free (besides the network data charges) To send an SMS will cost you 25 cents, an MMS (Multimedia Message, which usually includes a picture, audio or a video) 69 cents. You also get a free email address.

When one browses online, information is temporarily stored on your phone — which is charged according to the size of the data and the cellphone network you use. With MyWitness one is only charged for the data that you choose to download to your phone — which is then charged according to your network rates.

Technical bits

MyWitness is purely server-based, which means that it is independent from having to operate through other networks and servers.

Each user of MyWitness is provided with 100 megabytes of storage space. This may not sound like a lot yet this is compressed data which means that all information that you send and receive via the service is automatically compressed as it travels through the network. In other words, one need not worry about the technicalities of file sizes when sending or receiving data. For example, no matter what size the picture, e-mail, or video that you are sending is, MyWitness will automatically compress it for you; and once it has passed through the network and is received on the other side, the original data is restored — with no loss of quality or content.

End Bit

MyWitness is being launched at the Royal Show.

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