So even though doesn’t mention it on their WiFi Hotspots website, their WiFi hotspots (the ones in Harare at least) have been free for months now. Free as in free beer. You connect and you start surfing, that’s all. Most times its pretty good internet and I suspect it’s so because they made some effort to not spread the glad tidings far & wide. Everytime I tell someone, their response is “really? why?”
So anyway, that unlimited free seems to be under some bit of threat. Not complaining ofcourse but if you have connected to a ZOLSpot in the past couple of days you were probably greeted with a mandatory survey telling you the company is looking for ways to sell you a premium WiFi service of sorts. The free will stay at a “basic level” the survey says, and ZOL hopes to support this with ads.
2 things: With all the new taxes on the internet, and a pretty damp economy right now, free is unsustainable. But free keeps people on the network and these people can hopefully be converted in future when their economics improve. The second thing is that ZOL wants to try the advertising business. With all these people connected and consuming for free, asking them to at least view an ad or two before their session begins is far from a deal breaker. Lots of people would says yes to paying with eyeballs or with data (taking a survey). I don’t see a huge advertising business here though – more just making the free sustainable.