Pondering Wifi access in South Africa…
By mid 2013 we’ll reach a tipping point for smartphone sales in SA – more than 50% of phone sales will be smartphones. About 70% of smartphone data travels via Wifi. People like using wifi. Phones conveniently remember wifi login details. Mobile (3G) data is expensive in SA. Your average small restaurant can now get 1Mbps uncapped ADSL at a total cost of less than R500 per month.
Some places still have Wifi with web portals which make users watch ads or charge money for access. Nobody likes using these services. The fees are often out of sync with reality. It’s often a grudge purchase. How many times have you heard a friend saying something like: “why do all airports not have free wifi?” It’s even annoying when we have to login via a web portal to get free access. Our attention and time is worth more than the cost of the traffic.
Wifi should just work. No time and attention needed. No web portals. A once off wifi profile configuration on your smartphone should be enough. This takes care of some regulatory snags and makes sure people don’t abuse the system. I want to be able to walk into any restaurant or shop and just have wifi access. How hard can that be?