Ugandan carrier launches wireless Internet service

KAMPALA, UGANDA – After spending some US$10 million on a new 8-meter satellite and WiMax devices supplied by Motorola, Warid Telecom Uganda has launched the Internet provision segment of its business.

The company, which launched operations in Uganda in February and reports up to 1 million mobile phone subscribers, has been swamped with applications for the new service in the week following its launch.

“We have so much demand, and yet we have launched this service on a low key, with no media placements and the like,” Warid CEO Zul Javaid said in an interview.

Currently, Uganda Telecom serves the bulk of the country’s Internet clientele over copper. The service is often criticized for its slow speeds and unreliability, especially for users of small bandwidth. According to Javaid, Warid’s service will be superior, “because we have chosen a standard that is robust and are coming in the market with the most modern WiMax devices.”

Warid chose wireless connectivity, he added, because it is easy to install in any area within satellite range.

After applying for the service at a Warid customer care center, a technical team will be dispatched to the client’s premises to conduct a site survey and determine the optimal location for a Motorola modem.

“We will not connect a client if we are not sure the service will be good,” Javaid said. “Today, Internet connectivity is more important to businesses than any other connectivity, and we want to make sure clients get value for money.”

Subscribers of Warid’s WiMax service can chose from three packages, ranging from 64K bps (bits per second) for light residential use to 4M bps for large business users. Costs — including a one-time connection fee and equipment deposit, monthly equipment rental fee and monthly service fee — run from $420 to $16,000 per month, depending on the package.

Warid’s WiMax service is currently available in Kampala and will be available in three other urban centers before rolling out nationwide.

(from Computerworld Uganda)

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