Wi-Fi Hotspot Usage Almost Double During World Cup 2010

Written by Jean Dennis, Traffic Intergrated Marketing

Cape Town – The somewhat one million tourists and soccer revellers visiting the country during the 2010 Soccer World Cup led to a significant surge in the demand for high quality bandwidth when many of them flocked to popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and local news site Sports24.co.za, which saw over 1 million unique users during this period.

“Users on the micro-blogging site, Twitter, set a new record on June 14 posting 940 tweets per second in the 30 seconds following Japan’s World Cup win against African team, Cameroon. This is about 200 tweets per second more than the average,” says Henk Kleynhans, CEO and co-founder of premium Wi-Fi hotpot provider, Skyrove.

“At Skyrove, we saw a significant increase in bandwidth demand from our hospitality venue clients as many of the international visitors not only engaged on social networking sites, but communicated with loved ones in their home countries via email and instant messaging and uploaded photos of their fan experience in South Africa.”

“Usage at restaurants, cafes and hotels using Skyrove’s Business-Class Wi-Fi solution was 78% higher during the World Cup. We recently started delivering free Wi-Fi vouchers to users via SMS and ensured that payment with credit card was quick and easy for end-users and hassle-free for busy location owners.”

While emailing and social networking remain the mainstay of web usage, tourists used the internet for sharing photos, swapping music, uploading videos and making Skype calls to their friends and family.

As a result, these tourists were far more demanding of their wireless connectivity and expected Wi-Fi hotspot providers to cope with the increase in bandwidth usage. Skyrove’s hospitality venues were prepared for this by ensuring they offered wireless connectivity that was easy to access, reliable and consistent across the entire property and did not leave guests feeling frustrated with slow, unreliable internet and inconsistent coverage.

Says Kleynhans, “We are confident that Skyrove’s offering for hospitality venues will be able to cope with the ever increasing demand for high-quality Wi-Fi hotspot service following the positive feedback from guests and venue owners during the 2010 World Cup.”

South Africa Internet Speed 93rd in the World

According to statistics published by Speedtest.net, South Africa’s internet speeds are slower than those in Rwanda, Uganda, Tunisia and even Azerbaijan.

The statistics are collated from more than 1.6 billion crowdsourced – that is, done by individual internet users – speedtests done at the website Speedtest.net and through its iPhone and Android apps.

The good news is that South Africa – at an average 2.32 Mbps – is faster than the average African download speed of 1.6 Mbps. The slowest speeds in the world are the be found in Zambia, at an average 0.26 Mbps.

Test your own connection speed at Speedtest.net. Also have a look at Pingtest.net to get a good idea of whether your connection will work for VoIP and gaming.

Note: Speedtest.net & Pingtest.net are owned by Ookla, which was started by entrepreneur, former cab driver, SpeakEasy founder and allround great guy Mike Apgar)

Electronic Communications Facilities (ECF) Leasing Regulations

Last week ICASA published the ECF Leasing Regulations, hot on the heels of announcing that valuable wireless spectrum would go up for sale! Effectively, it means that anyone who controls any electronic communications facility, including cables, antennas, masts & even satellite transponders must share this with an ECNS licence holder that needs to use such facilities.

This is obviously pretty big news! If you’re in the industry, make sure you have a look at the Regulations, available from Ellipsis Regulatory Solutions - http://www.ellipsis.co.za/facilities-leasing-regulations/

I’ve also made a mindmap (incomplete) that outlines some of the pertinent points. I find a mindmap much easier to use for legal documents I find clauses like to refer to other clauses in the same document. With a mindmap I can quickly see the clauses being referred to without searching through pages. You can view (and download) the mindmap from http://www.xmind.net/share/geekrebel/electronic-communications-facilities-(ecf)-leasing-regulatio/ or use the embedded version below (click the PopOut arrow bottom right to view in Fullscreen mode)

Skyrove to take on mobile incumbents

Written by Duncan McLeod, TechCentral

Skyrove, a specialist wireless hotspot company, will launch an audacious bid for national radio frequency spectrum and, if it gets it, it plans to build a network to take on the country’s incumbent mobile operators.

TechCentral can reveal exclusively that the company, run by CEO Henk Kleynhans, plans to participate in an auction for national radio frequency in the 2,6GHz band. The auction, the first of its kind in SA, is set to take place in the next few months and involves spectrum at both 2,6GHz and 3,5GHz. It’s expected that the spectrum will be used to provide broadband access using third- and, later, fourth-generation wireless technologies.

Skyrove’s shareholders include venture capital firm 4Di Capital, which is ultimately owned by Reinet Investments (formerly Richemont), led by billionaire businessman Johann Rupert. Another shareholder is well-known East London-born Internet entrepreneur Vinny Lingham, the man behind fast-growing international website Yola.com.

Skyrove has built technology that allows anyone to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot and earn an income by sharing their Internet access with others. But now Kleynhans wants to take his business to the national stage, and thinks he has a model that will allow smaller players in the market to take on the giant operators in the industry.

Unlike other companies that are expected to bid for the spectrum — the mobile operators and larger Internet service providers are likely to be keen participants in the auction – Skyrove plans to share its infrastructure with other industry players if it wins the bid. “It is bizarre to think there should be only four service providers for 4G services when there are more than 500 licensed service providers in the country,” says Kleynhans.

“Skyrove will build a nationwide mobile broadband network, starting in urban areas, and will share the infrastructure with these service providers so they can provide 4G services, including telephony and video-on-demand.”The plan, says Kleynhans, is to sell the services directly to established Internet service providers in bulk and at wholesale prices. “We will not market directly to consumers and we don’t need to sign up millions of end-user customers ourselves before breaking even.”

Kleynhans says he can’t say yet who the company’s financial backers are. But whoever stumps up the cash will need deep pockets. Just participating in the 2,6GHz auction will cost R750 000, though this money is refundable. There’s also a nonrefundable application fee of R70 000. Of course, if the big incumbent operators take part in the auction, which they’re expected to, the bidding could quickly become too rich for many participants.

Big operators, including Vodacom, have suggested the spectrum that’s up for grabs should go to companies that have the financial wherewithal to build national networks. But Kleynhans says they’re being disingenuous. “It’s somewhat analogous to Encyclopaedia Britannica arguing that no-one could replicate what they’d done because they were ‘so big already’,” he says.

“Just as anyone with an Internet connection could contribute to Wikipedia, now anyone with a telecoms service licence will have open access to a platform on which they can provide innovative new services.”By selling access to the platform to other telecoms service providers, rather than trying to sell services directly to end-user consumers, Kleynhans says Skyrove will be able to regain its investment in infrastructure much faster.

“At the same time, because the infrastructure is being shared, service providers will pay much less than they would have if they built their own infrastructure or tried to build services on the incumbents’ networks.”

Kleynhans says Skyrove hasn’t yet decided which technology to adopt, though the company is keen on deploying 4G rather than 3G services using either WiMax or “long-term evolution”, the successor to the 3G networks operated by Vodacom and MTN.

Internet Cafe vs Wi-Fi – Hommage or Competitive Advertising?

I was sent this picture today of a sign at the African Axess internet cafe in Observatory.

Skyrove has 25 Wi-Fi hotspots in Observatory, with the vast majority charging R0.30 per MB (so R7 can get you well over an hour’s worth of internet access, or about 40 minutes worth of Skype).

You can find your closest Observatory Wi-Fi Hotspot on the Skyrove Wi-Fi Locator.