by Andrew Smith on 17/12/08 at 9:45 am
We received this e-mail from an Ideate reader this week:
I have followed the “I-Burst” saga for some time now, getting a good laugh at the same time. I personally have been using Vodacom at work, just my mobile as a modem, very low tech I know, but it works for me. However, I noticed the other day, that Virgin Mobile, which as I understand it runs off Vodacoms infrastructure, is so much cheaper for the their data bundles. This too me seems a very strange pricing policy.
I was wondering if from a small business perspective, would this mot be a cheaper and better option for everyone? It’s very seldom you don’t have a signal these days, the speed is pretty good, and it’s pretty handy. Price wise, it doesn’t really hurt the pocket since it’s mostly emails download anyway.
It’s a common question at the moment, particularly with the amount of marketing noise that is flying about in this market segment. This was my response:
I tried to dig around the Virgin Mobile site to find their data packages, but this is all I could come up with:
[Virgin Rates Page]
It appears that data is R0.60 per MB, which works out to about R600 per GIG. Our ADSL data charge with Axxess costs R59 per gig, plus the ADSL line which is a fixed charge of between R100 and R400 a month depending on the speed.
Definitely 3G/Edge/GPRS is a winner if you move around a lot, or if you use a small amount of data a month. Our rantings and ravings have mainly been concerning internet connectivity at the office, which doesn’t need to be mobile, and is usually more than a few hundred megs worth (we currently use about 14gigs a month, which would cost a fair packet with 3G!). For small business office use, ADSL is still the only real choice.
One important thing to remember is that 2009 is going to be a watershed year for internet connectivity in South Africa. The first of the new undersea cables arrive, and it sounds like SA is going to have too much connectivity (isn’t that a strange thing to say!) and so it’s going to have to be flogged cheaply in order to get even a small return for the investors. So the most important thing – whether you’re looking at iBurst, ADSL or 3G – is don’t sign any long-term contracts! You’ll want to be free to move around to the best deals in the coming months.
Of course, I am by no means an ISP expert, so please feel free to contribute to the comments and fill in the gaps in my understanding.
Andrew Smith is the pedantic systems guy behind Live Alchemy, a SA e-commerce company. Andrew writes for Ideate in an attempt to make the world a more efficient place. View more articles by Andrew Smith.