Recently we came across an iWayAfrica online banner advert advertising mobile broadband through a “range of devices” including one called the Pocket Rocket. With this new product, iWayAfrica effectively becomes one the first ISPs (that is not IAPs) to introduce mobile internet in addition to the traditional UHF Radio, Fibre and fixed WiMax connections.
So far, mobile broadband has been the preserve of the Internet Access Providers (IAPs) and mobile operators – Econet, Telecel, NetOne, Powertel, Telecel, Africom, Liquid, etc – that own base station infrastructure. Whilst ISPs like iWayAfrica, ZOL (before Liquid), and YoAfrica were limited to fixed broadband.
A source at iWay told us the Pocket Rocket service is a CDMA service that’s riding on the Africom and PowerTel networks. But providing networks is as far as the two providers go; the actual service, the dongles, the after sales support and basically all interface with the customer is all iWayAfrica. Combining the two local CDMA networks also means potentially wider network coverage than either Africom or Powertel are delivering individually.
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The service had a soft launch about a month ago and our source tells us customers can already walk into any iWayAfrica shop and buy. In terms of costs it’s pretty much there with the competition; the dongle costs $35 and the monthly subscription is $50 for unlimited data.