RIP iBurst

Multisource will shut down the iBurst Wireless service on 31 August, ending a 12-year broadband journey.

The company informed iBurst subscribers that their modem will no longer receive a signal after the shutdown.

iBurst has provided South Africans with cost-effective broadband services for over a decade, and was one of the first wireless broadband providers in the country.

However, due to technology obsolescence it is no longer viable technically or commercially to run the network.

iBurst technology

When iBurst unveiled its 1Mbps wireless broadband products in 2004, they were the fastest broadband services in South Africa.

The service used IEEE 802.20 or Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA) technology, which was developed by ArrayComm and optimised the use of bandwidth with the help of smart antennas.

Kyocera was the manufacturer of iBurst devices, and supplied South Africa with iBurst desktop modems.

The technology never achieved large-scale mainstream adoption, however, and stopped being actively developed.

While South African iBurst users could receive speeds of up to 2Mbps, the technology fell behind HSPA, LTE, and LTE-A.

With Rain rolling out an LTE-A network, there was no reason to keep the legacy iBurst network active.

Existing iBurst subscribers were moved to the Rain LTE-A network or given the option of letting their contract terminate.

History of iBurst

iBurst unveiled its first wireless broadband products in 2004, and the iBurst Service Provider Company launched on 1 May 2005.

At launch, the company’s goal was to “offer the speed of DSL in a mobile environment”.

“Thanks to frequency interference reduction, users obtain stable speeds that are faster than other mobile Internet offerings,” said iBurst.

A look at the company’s history, from its initial product announcement to its network shutdown, is detailed below.


August 2004

iBurst opens its network to testers, including well-known tech execs.

iBurst-Modem


December 2004

The 1Mbps service is soft-launched in South Africa, demonstrating “high-speed Internet services” in Sandton City.

iBurst


April 2005

iBurst officially launches its 1Mbps broadband service, with four packages – 1GB for R469, 3GB for R599, 6GB for R899, and 10GB for R1,099.

iBurst logo


May 2005

iBurst (Pty) Ltd is launched.


August 2005

iBurst launches 1Mbps i-Go service, which offered data connectivity with a 500MB limit for R299 per month. Top-up rates were R139 for 500MB or R229 for 1GB.

iBurst Modem


January 2006

Alan Knott-Craig Jr appointed as CEO of iBurst.

Alan Knott-Craig Jr, Project Isizwe


November 2006

Vodacom acquires 10% of iBurst.

Alan Knott-Craig


October 2008

Vodacom increases its stake in iBurst parent company WBS to 24.9%.

Vodacom logo


October 2008

iBurst completes the installation of its 250th base station, which went live in Brakpan.

Tower


June 2009

Jannie van Zyl is appointed as the new WBS and iBurst Group CEO.

Jannie van Zyl


May 2010

Vodacom announces plans to sell its stake in WBS/iBurst.

Vodacom Iburst


September 2011

iBurst increases data bundle sizes on its wireless products, and launches uncapped products.

Uncapped


October 2014

iBurst launches Uncapped Lite, priced at R299 per month on a 24-month contract.

iBurst Uncapped Lite


November 2015

Multisource acquires iBurst parent WBS.

Multisource logo


November 2015

Duncan Simpson-Craib appointed as Group CEO of Multisource.

Duncan Simbson-Craib


January 2017

iBurst informs customers it will start decommissioning its network.

iBurst-Modem


June 2017

iBurst parent WBS and its LTE-A network rebranded as Rain.

Rain Header 2


31 August 2017

The iBurst Wireless service is shut down.

RIP iBurst


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