iConnect, formerly AfriConnect Zambia, rebranded to a new multi-color scheme that uses bright colors and combines a ubiquitous orange to quite dazzling effect. The new brand also has a-yet-to-be-named ‘cool’ mascot. The launch was held at Arcades in Lusaka where the previous ‘4G connection’ was offered in the internet cafe. The store was re-branded and given the new look.
What is new asides the new colors, one might ask? We took a look at the iConnect website to find out for ourselves. We compared it to what was on offer previously for both home or office. At first glance, we can say the rebranding sees better definition of packages for home and office as well as value-added services.
The table below summarises the new pricing:
Table 1: Home and Office Packages Pricing
|Home||Price (K)||Office^||Price (K)|
|Home 10||299||Office 20||899|
|Home 15||435||Office 30||1195|
|Home 20||585||Office 40||1599|
|Home 30||799||Office 50||1799|
|Home Unlimited*||999||Office Unlimited||1999|
The iBundles product (Wi-Fi hostpots) is also still there. The service is meant for the mobile and prepaid (Pay-As-You-Go) user who wants to access the internet via the multiple hotspots around the city and across the country. [See Table 2 below].
Table 2: iBundles Pricing
|Bundles (iBundles)||Price (K)||Previous Price (K)||% Change|
Perhaps the price reduction in this segment are an indication of just how much the service was over-priced previously, as they have been slashed from around 40 percent to over 120 percent. So cheer up if this price will be for better quality of service and better customer support. Calm down, the number of iSpots will have to increase so you the customer is better served anywhere in Zambia. Currently, only Choma, Kabwe, Kitwe, Lusaka, Mongu, Ndola and Solwezi have some dotted coverage.
The much hyped new price plans are called VIP deals. There is the 20 GB free home package at K499, which comes with an indoor modem. Or the office package with 20 GB of data when you buy an outdoor modem at K999. Savings are mentioned explicitly, so we are safe to assume this is a one-off offer as it lasts only up until 31 January 2014. Also important to note that some homes’ location may require an outdoor device.
In addition to all these offers mentioned above is ‘ZeBige’ promotion which is only available to areas outside Lusaka in Mansa, Kasama, Mongu, Kabwe, Livingstone, Choma, Mazabuka, Siavonga, Chirundu, Namwala, Macha, Lumwana, Chipata and Chongwe. For K249 the customer gets 5GB for use at anytime of the day. Does it mean that usage outside Lusaka has not developed and people outside the city have never heard of downloads, streaming services and online gaming?
For the industry, this means growth in the sense that more and more ISPs are waking up to redefine their customer segments and coming up with price plans that suit their customers’ needs. Furthermore, the realisation that technologies such as 4G internet, broadband internet and wireless access anywhere are no longer the drivers for choice among customers who are looking for more affordable and reliable internet is a good move in the face of increased competition from mobile telcos and fixed solution providers.
We hope this will lead to competitive offers from others, which will drive down the price of bringing internet into homes and offices, as well as the monthly price of staying online. For a long time the consumer has had to fork out large sums for unreliable and unstable connections, mobile and fixed, while their front lawns and driveways are trenched by workmen laying fibre across the city not once but by every operator and new entrant in the market.
Image Credits and Pricing Info: iConnect Twitter (@iConnectZambia) and website.