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Is mobile data expensive in Zimbabwe? That’s a very difficult question to answer and it can become near political too. However, what we can confidently call fact is that mobile data is not affordable to the majority of us.
Whether the MNO’s are charging fairly or even below what would be considered fair is not important, what’s important is that we can’t afford what they are selling as much as we used to.
And then there was public WiFi
At a time when so many folks can’t even afford WhatsApp access, WiFi hot spots have become such life lines. Connectivity companies like ZOL and TelOne have been offering these in the major centres in our cities. However, what they offer is barely adequate for our levels of addiction to the internet. ZOL hot spots for example are now offering free 30 minutes of access per day. To be honest this is quite generous given the state of our economy but that doesn’t make it adequate.
What if you could get 5 hours?
What would you do with 5 hours of unlimited internet? I would blog, my wife would feast on baking videos, you?
Poshto is a public WiFi service that’s offering exactly that. You can enjoy up to 5 hours of free WiFi at their hot spots around Harare and soon around other cities and towns in Zim too.
What’s the catch?
Even free stuff costs money right? How then is Poshto affording this? Of course they make you pay somehow, question is how… Their model is based on proximity advertising. Yea of course! Almost everything that’s free on the internet is supported by ad money including yours truly.
But ads can be annoying
First, beggars ain’t choosers… To be less harsh though, if adverts are managed well they are not as annoying and can in fact be positive to user experience. Think about magazines for example: a magazine without elaborate artistic adverts is boring. How will Poshto adverts work?
The Poshto team promises that they will show you one advert when you sign into a hot spot. You have to sign up very hour though. If you are going to spend 5 hours straight uri pa poshto for example it means you are going to view ads 5 times. That doesn’t sound like too high a price to pay.
If all goes well Poshto plans to make these ads highly targeted. They will use details they collect when you log in including your location to serve you ads that are as relevant to you as they can make them. If there is a sale in a store close to you for example this could be something you actually want to know about: that’s proximity marketing for you.
Who are these guys?
Poshto is a collaboration between Contitouch an internet service provider (ISP) and a digital advertising agency called The Residence. Both these companies are members of the Hammer and Tongues Group.
Their relationship with the Hammer and Tongues Group means they already have their first and big customer for the adverts. Brands such as Africa Bet, Africa Lotto and Hammer and Tongues Auctioneers are all mass brands that are good customers to the advertising platform.
Poshto is already available at 66 outlets and their network is growing. Right now you can find them at a number of OK Supermarkets, Bon Mache Supermarkets, Africa Bet spots as well as major bus pick up points like Charge Office and 4th Street.
They have also signed an agreement with the Ministry of Health to make free public WiFi available at clinics and hospitals in urban and rural centres. So far they are at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.
We hope they will keep their promise and not make the ads annoying and also keep offering 5 hours or even more. The internet is a great resource that could really make a difference in these trying times.
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