BusyInternet launches LTE in with zero rated YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Joy Online and Ghana Web freebies
The battle for Africa’s generation of high-speed Internet users just hotted up in Ghana. BusyInternet launched its 4G offer to both its corporate customers and to new consumer customers. Russell Southwood spoke to its CEO Praveen Sadelage about how the first few days have gone.
BusyInternet has launched its TD-LTE service covering most of Accra and Tema. It goes from Kasoa in the west to Prampram in the west and to Danfa in the north. It has been selling through eleven outlets spread out across the coverage area with a flagship store reporting heavy foot traffic. It’s been marketing itself on radio and in other media and has a TV campaign and online digital advertising in the works.
The network has been in a testing phase since November. Sadelage tells me:”We’re delivering a good product to our customers. You can play multiple videos at once for example and we’re getting good feedback from our customers. We’ve migrated all our corporate customers and they’re saying it’s been worth the wait.”
The service is being offered with two devices: a portable MiFi device and an indoor router. The Mi-Fi device costs GHS99 with 500MB and GHS139 with 5GB. The indoor router costs GHS399 with 10GB plus you get a freebee.
The freebees are a marketing device to get people hooked on using higher speed bandwidth applications and service. One of them is a free weekend’s use from Friday night to Sunday night. Another one is getting zero rated use for YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Joy Online and Ghana Web.
Customers are able to choose and change their freebees from the menu of offers on Busy’s website:”It will save a lot of data for customers…video takes a lot of bandwidth. The freebees put a lot of power in the customers’ hands.”
Sadelage says it has plans to bring new products and services to its customers:”We’ve been talking to content providers and aggregators.” And voice?:”We’re a data only operator.”
The competitive landscape for 4G services in Ghana is very different from those where 4G has been aggressively rolled out. Initially there were supposed to be three independent ISPs offering 4G but of these, only Surfline made it off the starting line.
In the mobile operator part of the market, MTN won the 4G spectrum auction in December 2015 with three others failing to secure any spectrum. It paid US$67.5 million for 2 x 10 MHz blocks of 800 MHz spectrum.
It’s better spectrum that Busy’s 2300 MHz spectrum but they have paid royally for the privilege. However, it will be the only mobile operator with a 4G offer. But the regulator NCA says there is another unallocated block and it will return to this in due course.
BusyInternet is owned by Dutch-based Afrimax which now has two 4G operations in Africa: Uganda and Ghana. The former is striking for two reasons: firstly, it has allied itself with Vodafone and secondly, it now has over 100,000 subscribers for a voice and data offer. It has plans to roll out in other countries across Africa where it has quietly acquired spectrum and licences.
So what have customers been using most since the launch earlier this week?:”It’s really too early to say but they’ve been able to do a lot of stuff much quicker. It’s reliable and fast. You’re able to browse, download and upload more quickly. An efficiency has come to the market. We’ve raised the bar.
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