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MWEB AND IS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT WIMAX POSSIBILITIES IN SOUTH AFRICA

MWEB and Internet Solutions (IS), two of the largest ISPs in South Africa, are optimistic about the potential of WiMax to increase the current broadband penetration rate in South Africa.  

Telkom has recently announced that they have launched an external broadband customer trial using WiMax. This trial is run in collaboration with Internet Service Providers MWEB, IS and Telkom Internet.

MWEB said that they will be targeting their existing customer base for the trial, and envisage that when WiMax is launched commercially, they will be in a good position to further penetrate the broadband market.

MWEB also pointed out that they expect WiMax to solve some of the problems associated with getting an ADSL connection and this will enhance broadband growth. These problems are caused by the speed at which Telkom can provision ADSL lines for both itself and its suppliers.

“Currently we feel that the delays in installing ADSL lines have hampered growth considerably, and with this no longer being an issue, we should immediately see an increase in growth. Added to that, we now have the ability to target areas that don’t have Telkom fixed line infrastructure.”

Long ADSL installation times are often cited as the reason for consumers opting for other broadband services like iBurst or HSDPA, and the launch of WiMax may result in a faster broadband growth and more customers for both Telkom and their reseller partners.

IS are also upbeat about the potential of WiMax and predict that it will have a positive impact on broadband delivery in future, but cautions that the current trial is dependant on Telkom’s tower rollouts.

“IS anticipate a large uptake of the WiMax service in the longer term, the trial however is dependent on Telkom’s roll-out of their WiMax service,” IS said.

Unlike MWEB which will merely resell the Telkom service, IS will provide their trial users with their own account and bandwidth, very similar to the current ISDSL offerings.

“During the test phase, Telkom will be supplying the WiMax service to the customers as the last mile portion, and Internet Solutions will provide the users with accounts to make use of IS’ own bandwidth, thereby testing IS bandwidth across their last mile Telkom WiMax service,” IS said. IS further points out that WiMax has the potential of bypassing various problems which currently cause problem with ADSL roll out.

“The installation is not always simple, however it doesn’t have the issues of cable theft or quality of copper that currently hound a number of ADSL users. We believe that WiMax will help revolutionise last mile connectivity, and bring services to consumer and SME alike as well as offer last mile replacement services for Corporate SA,” IS concluded.

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