It's Fon with MWEB

2014-01-16 18:55
MWEB has reacted to Telkom's broadband pricing with its own reductions that should benefit consumers. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

MWEB has reacted to Telkom's broadband pricing with its own reductions that should benefit consumers. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg - Internet service provider MWEB has announced an exclusive partnership with the world's largest Wi-Fi network, Fon.

This would give South Africans the opportunity to become part of a shared global and national Wi-Fi network, MWEB said in a statement on Thursday.

"What this means for MWEB ADSL customers is that they effectively act as hotspots, sharing their Wi-Fi signal, at home or at the office, creating a larger mesh network of WiFi hotspots."

Fon is based in Spain. MWEB aimed to create 160 000 Fon Wi-Fi hotspots across the country in the next two to three years.

Wi-Fi enabled connectivity to the internet wherever a person was, with internet access an important economic driver in South Africa and around the world.

To date, Fon had successfully launched in London with British Telecom, Belgium, Brazil, and recently, North America.

MWEB CEO Derek Hershaw said: "We have been looking for a way to broaden our customers' access to Wi-Fi beyond their home or office network without compromising the quality of internet access that they’ve become accustomed to."

Recent trends highlighted that South Africans were increasingly more mobile, with network equipment company Cisco predicting mobile traffic would account for 26% of all South African data traffic by 2016.

Orange Telecom was of the view that 50% of international mobile data would be delivered via Wi-Fi.

Fon chief operating officer Alex Puregger said: "Fon are delighted to work with Mweb because of its track record, credibility, footprint and loyal customer base as it already has a large base of more than 320 000 customers."

Frugal

Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of technology research company World Wide Worx, believeS Wi-Fi would go mainstream in SA in 2014.

"It’s on the agenda of ISPs [internet service providers], mobile networks, shopping malls, eating places as well as regional and national government," he said.

"So when the Western Cape’s DA government and the ANC in its manifesto stress the importance of Wi-Fi then you know it’s going mainstream in a big way."

Alan Knott-Craig, CEO of Project Isizwe which facilitates the rollout of free Wi-Fi networks across Africa, said: "The future of telecoms is data. The most frugal way to roll out a data network is using Wi-Fi.

"If we're ever going to see internet access as a basic service along the lines of water and electricity (which is inevitable), cost efficiency is the key. That's why Wi-Fi is the future."

News24 is part of 24.com, a subsidiary of Media24, which is in the Naspers stable. MWEB is a subsidiary of Naspers.

- SAPA

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