Original title: Paywast
Producer: USTronics.com, Inc. doing business as Paywast
Media Format: Mobile, SMS
language: Dari, Pashto, English
‘Paywast’ is based in Afghanistan. It is an SMS-based mobile social network available on AWCC, Afghan Telecom, Etisalat and MTN.
With more than one million users across Afghanistan, Paywast has become an easy way for people to share information and communicate their interests. Staying in touch with distant relatives across the country has never been easier. Many families have created their own private group, it has been observed, and communicate regularly. Members of groups contribute their messages by sending an SMS to 729, the Paywast short code. Paywast users can make groups private or public, depending on the purpose.
Citizens are not the only Paywast beneficiaries. Organizations, small businesses and civic authorities can also use it and thrive. Since its launch in January 2011, Paywast has more than 1 million users, making it by far the largest social network or digital communication tool in Afghanistan.Initially free for all users, Paywast is now a paid service, charging a monthly fee based on intended consumption.
Paywast is unique because it is blossoming in a country where Internet connections are unreasonably expensive. It has also been instrumental in introducing new and innovative ways of promotion and marketing in a country largely been dominated by advertising on TV, radio and billboards.
Many areas in Afghanistan have secluded communities, where the majority of the young population still has no access to other parts of the country or other peoples. Internet or other communication tools are still way off their thoughts. Paywast’s challenge is to connect this young population to the wider world.