Firm claims to make wireless cheaper

Johannesburg, 03 Feb 2005

Local iBurst value-added reseller Tradepage has brought to market a wireless Internet access solution that it says could offer speeds of up to 1Mbps.

The offer costs R454 a month on special, with the price increasing to R599 in March, says company co-owner Ian Halliday. "This offering is cheaper than 3G at the moment."

He says the offering is priced lower than its competitors - Sentech`s MyWireless bundled 512 package costs R1 449 a month - although users have to purchase a modem themselves. "This will cost up to R2 800, depending on the client`s needs," says Halliday.

iBurst, which is developed by Wireless Broadband Solutions, has coverage in three of the main cities.

"With the arrival of VOIP, people can also expect voice services on the network soon."

The main allure of wireless is that it offers cheaper and faster connectivity, as well as mobility. However, most local offerings either 'cap` users - limit the amount they can download each month - or place users on a shared server, meaning connectivity speeds will decrease as more people sign up.

Although Tradepage users will be on a shared server, Halliday says the network infrastructure will be upgraded as users sign on. "We are offering a new service that only came to market in December. So, as the money comes in, we will be adding and upgrading our existing bay stations."

By allowing users to sign up on a month-by-month basis, Halliday says they will not be tied down if they are unhappy with the service. "We decided against offering lengthy contracts, so that, if our clients feel we have a good service and we are fast, then they can choose to sign on for longer."

At present, the offering is not capped, but a three gigabyte limit will be introduced in April, he says. "We are currently working on specials offers for users who want more than that."

High interest

South Africans are keen to get their hands on high-speed wireless, says Halliday, adding that the market is becoming increasingly competitive.

"The interest we have had has been brilliant; it`s going a bit mad, actually. The market has become really competitive and people want a faster service."

Halliday says the Tradepage offering is aimed at both business and personal users, although he concedes not everyone will be able to afford it. "It is mainly for 'A` income users, who have laptops and want to be mobile, and so we have covered areas like Sandton more in-depth."