WirelessG launches shared-wallet for Internet access in South Africa

Wed, 2009/07/01

New ‘G-Connect’ service provides data access across 3G, Wi-Fi and ADSL

WirelessG has become the first South African company to launch a completely converged online service that allows customers to consolidate their spend on ADSL, 3G/HSDPA and Wi-Fi Hotspot access and in doing so, more tightly control and manage their monthly Internet costs.

“The service is called G-Connect,” explains Carel van der Merwe, CEO of WirelessG, “and is for all intents and purposes a prepaid shared data wallet that customers can use to buy capacity for the three most commonly used forms of Internet connectivity in South Africa.

“We believe it adds an element of simplicity, control and ease of use to the market that has been sorely lacking up until now,” he says, “and for that reason, we have strong aspirations for the growth of the service.

“It’s not just the increased simplicity of the service we believe the market will appreciate,” he continues. “The pricing we’ve managed to secure is furthermore extremely competitive with what’s on offer currently, albeit through a variety of separate suppliers.

“We believe the service will attract great attention because of the ease of use with which customers can buy and use data capacity, as and when they require it without having the burden of a contract,” he says.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, van der Merwe says customers can buy their data access in increments of R25, R50, R100, R250 or R500 and immediately begin surfing with the convenience of a single provider.

ADSL will be deducted from the user’s bandwidth balance at a rate of 6.5 South African cents, whilst 3G will be deducted from the user’s balance at a rate of 62 South Africa cents per MB . Wi-Fi access at over 750 local hotspots will be deducted at a rate of 45 South African cents per minute or 49 cents per MB, depending on the user’s preference.

“These prices become even more compelling between 5pm and 8pm at night when ADSL drops to an alarmingly low 4.7 South African cents per MB, 3G to 55 South African cents per MB and Wi-Fi access drops to 35 South African cents per MB or 30 cents per minute, which is very low when taking into consideration that it is prepaid,” he adds.

Users of the service can furthermore also leverage the service for international Internet access at more than 110 000 hotspots spread throughout the world at a flat rate of R1.50 per minute, a substantial reduction over what these services traditionally cost.

“The best part is however that funds in the user’s bandwidth wallet carry over for twelve months from their last sign-in to the service.

“It’s to our knowledge, an unprecedented move in the local market,” he says.

Signing up for the service is as simple as registering at www.gconnect.co.za. Thereafter users can very easily top up their bandwidth wallet and begin enjoying the service.

“Within minutes of doing this, users can sign-in with their G-Connect credentials over Wi-Fi or DSL and begin utilising their data bundle,” van der Merwe says.

“The 3G sign-up process, while not quite as simple to carry out as the Wi-Fi and DSL parts of the equation, is still extremely simple to carry out by comparison to other services on offer,” he continues.

“If the user already has the required hardware and a Vodacom SIM-card, they simply apply for the SIM to be provisioned on the G-Connect service and within 24-hours will be granted access to the service.

“For users that on the other hand don’t have a Vodacom SIM-card, a once-off charge of R150 will apply and within 24-hours, a pre-provisioned card will be delivered to their door,” he says.

WirelessG has also developed a piece of free dashboard software available for the Windows and Mac platforms that assists users in choosing and connecting to whichever of the three Internet services they would like to, something that makes the solution both easy to use and viable for the majority of relatively adept computer users.

Van der Merwe says the launch of G-Connect is an important one for WirelessG and something he believes will be met with strong support from the market.

“And as the benefits of lower cost bandwidth brought on by the impact of the new Seacom cable begin seeing the light of day, we expect there to be an even greater groundswell of interest in G-Connect. We are committed to adjusting our prices with the falling price of bandwidth,” van der Merwe says.

“This launch signifies a move into a relatively fresh direction for us,” he says, “and paves the way for other new and exciting services we have in the pipeline for the coming months.

“Watch this space,” he concludes.