Vodacom, WirelessG’s big Wi-Fi network plans

WirelessG, in partnership with Vodacom, is planning to grow its Wi-Fi network to over 6,000 hotspots in the next 5 years. This is word from WirelessG CEO Carel van der Merwe.

WirelessG and Vodacom recently announced an agreement in which Vodacom will bundle G-Connect Wi-Fi data products with certain mobile product offerings.

As part of the agreement WirelessG will significantly grow its Wi-Fi footprint, which will focus on providing additional customer value.

G-Connect and AlwaysOn have an existing Wi-Fi roaming partnership, with around 1,500 integrated hotspots in the combined network. This number will grow to 6,000 in the next 5 years, van der Merwe said.

“We also plan to expand our roaming partnership to other providers as well – locally and internationally,” said van der Merwe.

Growing Wi-Fi coverage

Van der Merwe said that traditional hotspot locations remain popular – coffee shops, shopping centres and hotels. Lately however, Wi-Fi has become very popular in customer service waiting areas.

“This includes venues where you wait for your vehicle’s tyre to be replaced or your car to be serviced. Entertainment areas such as sport stadiums have also become very popular,” said van der Merwe.

He added that traditionally Wi-Fi was perceived as a DIY service, but the more popular Wi-Fi becomes the more the need for consolidation and standardization will increase.

“Companies that are quality of service and brand oriented move away from the DIY model to a carrier grade Wi-Fi with proper support,” said van der Merwe.

Wi-Fi backhaul network

WirelessG said that the backhaul network depends on availability and the venue partnership deal. “First prize is fibre, however, that is not always available and cost effective,” said van der Merwe.

“Coffee shops and restaurants will most of the times utilise ADSL while venues like sport stadiums requires higher bandwidth provisioning with capacities of up to 600Mbps,” he said.

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Vodacom, WirelessG’s big Wi-Fi network plans