MWeb Wi-Fi: more details emerge

The Internet service provider is conducting proof-of-concept trials with Netcare hospitals, Spur restaurants and other venues as it ramps up plans to build a national Wi-Fi network.

Nathier Kasu

Nathier Kasu

Naspers-owned Internet service provider MWeb has entered into proof-of-concept tests with City Lodge, Hyprop Group, Netcare and Spur as it looks to build a national Wi-Fi network.

TechCentral first reported on 4 December that MWeb intends tackling the incumbents in the public Wi-Fi hotspot market in South Africa with an aggressively priced offering of its own.

The Internet service provider has deployed Wi-Fi to Canal Walk and N1 City, shopping centres near Cape Town, and to the Protea Glen Mall in Soweto. It intends to have rolled out Wi-Fi to 150 venues around the country by the end of March.

To entice consumers to use the service, MWeb is offering all users — not just MWeb customers — free, uncapped access to the network until the end of February 2014. After that, MWeb uncapped users will continue to have free access and their usage of the Wi-Fi network will also be unlimited.

“We can also report that the in-mall coverage and quality thus far have been beyond expectation and that we are averaging over 400 registrations per day at Canal Walk alone,” says MWeb Wi-Fi GM Nathier Kasu in a statement.

Customers will auto-connect whenever they return to an MWeb Wi-Fi Zone, meaning they don’t have to log into separate hotspots as they move from one area of a mall to another. After the end of February, consumers will continue to have access to Internet and get the first 30 minutes Wi-Fi access for free, says Kasu.

Capped MWeb broadband digital subscriber line (DSL) customers will get a 300MB/month allocation, though Kasu said in a recent interview with TechCentral that the service provider hopes to use the Wi-Fi product to entice more of its capped customers onto its uncapped DSL products.

Non-MWeb customers will be able to subscribe to the Wi-Fi product from March 2014, but the company hasn’t revealed pricing yet.

By March 2016, MWeb expects to have between 500 and 600 venues around the country live with Wi-Fi coverage.  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

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