IS currently has the largest footprint of hotspots across South Africa, with more than 750 live sites. “The reduction in prices will be made across all packages, but the most significant impact will be on the higher-end packages of 1 GB and over,” says Craig Stewart, Wi-Fi product manager at Internet Solutions.
Currently consumers are paying 35 cents per MB on average to access hotspots in South Africa. “The new pricing will see users paying 18 cents per MB for a 1 GB package, while the 3 GB and over packages will be priced at 8 cents per MB.”
“Our AlwaysOn hotspots can be accessed at key locations such as all ACSA airports, roughly 80% of hotels in SA and a variety of restaurants and coffee shops,” says Stewart. These include hotel chains such as Sun International, City Lodge, Holiday Inn, Protea Hotels, Three Cities and Crowne Plaza as well as franchises such as Mugg & Bean, Seattle and Dulce Cafés,. IS also has interconnect agreements with a variety of international carriers, giving the ISP access to over 200 000 hotspots globally. “We currently have inbound interconnect agreements with the 24 international carriers, giving customers flexibility and ease of connection using the same account as they do in their own countries,” he says. This also applies to South Africans travelling abroad as their outbound interconnect agreements allows access to over 200 000 hotspots across the globe, allowing South African citizens travelling overseas access to these Wi-Fi hotspots.
“Wi-Fi should be playing a much more prominent role in connecting people,” says Stewart. “It is however perceived to be very expensive, largely because it is incorrectly compared to ADSL services.” Through the new pricing as well as its substantial footprint, IS is already taking the Wi-Fi market by storm. “We are already at a point where we can provide customers with speed and quality of connection that is superior to 3G and now it will be a lot more affordable as well,” he concludes