R199/month for uncapped mobile broadband

South African networking company LucidView is launching an uncapped mobile broadband product on MTN for a monthly price of R199, Andrew Wilson, head of LucidView recently told MyBroadband.

According to Wilson, the product is aimed primarily at parents that want to ensure their children don’t run out of airtime at inconvenient or dangerous times.

LucidView is also offering full control over what a subscriber on their Access Point Name (APN) may access on the Internet via their smartphones.

This will ensure that parents are always in contact with their child while shielding them from adult content, Wilson said.

Those subscribers that want more predictable mobile data expenditure could also benefit, Wilson said, explaining that the browsing restrictions can be completely removed for adult users.

Wilson said that the first phase of registrations will be limited to eBlockwatch, Rapewise, and LucidView’s existing customers.

This is to ensure that LucidView can scale with demand, Wilson said, because to start with their uncapped cellphone data service will run over a 4Mbps custom APN from MTN. However, LucidView said is actively looking for a third channel partner to bring the product to a wider market, Wilson said.

Similar to Afrihost’s MTN-based mobile broadband service, LucidView’s cellphone data plan is month-to-month.

You will need a new SIM card, which LucidView said it will deliver. Existing numbers may then be ported to this new SIM card.

In addition, customers will be required to authorise a debit order for the monthly fee.

Service element LucidView Cellphone Data Nashua Mobile Xtreme Data Premium Nashua Mobile Xtreme Data Service BlackBerry Internet Service
Price R199/month R139/month R59/month R59/month
Devices supported All smartphones Some Nokia and Samsung devices Some Nokia and Samsung devices BlackBerry OS devices (not BB10)
Fair usage policy Based on available bandwidth (i.e. not usage-based) Throttled to 512kbps; 400MB: 245kbps; 160MB: 56kbps Throttled to 512kbps; 100MB: 245kbps; 160MB: 56kbps Unspecific terms of service, similar to uncapped ADSL providers
Streaming media included Yes No; YouTube unblocked No; YouTube blocked No; no blocks (uses normal APN from cellular provider)
Tethering included Yes No; APN-locked No; APN-locked No; can use normal APN
Networks MTN only MTN, Vodacom MTN, Vodacom 8ta, Cell C, MTN, Virgin Mobile, Vodacom

No usage-based fair use policy

LucidView is not the first company to launch an uncapped 3G offering for smartphones, and will be competing against Nashua Mobile’s Xtreme Data and BlackBerry Internet Services.

Where LucidView believes they really stand out, is that they won’t throttle or shape subscribers based on how much data they consumed in the past.

Instead, Wilson said they will assign their available bandwidth based on the immediate demand of the users on their network, prioritising traffic as follows:

  1. Instant messaging (text only), such as WhatsApp, ChatOn, Viber, and others.
  2. Banking, browsing, and e-mail.
  3. Voice-over-IP (Viber, Tango, SIPDroid, and others); Multimedia (streaming audio and video); updates; file synchronisation (Dropbox and others); downloads; and other large content.

As demand on the APN increases, traffic from applications in the third priority level will be shaped to ensure good quality of service (QoS) to the first and second tier.

Similarly, traffic from the second priority level will be shaped to ensure acceptable QoS to first-tier applications if needed.

Asked whether LucidView has plans to open registrations to the general public, Wilson said that it is dependent on demand and that they hope to do so in time.

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R199/month for uncapped mobile broadband