sometimes, I make a lot of sense.

GLO’s ‘nationwide hotspot’ is a big deal.

23 November 2012 by Oo Nwoye

There are two things I’ve got to give to Globacom, Nigeria’s second national telecommunication carrier. There are bloody spammers as well as innovators in the telco space – at least when it comes to billing. They ‘sachetized’ the phone call with their per second billing.

So when I heard their recent innovation in the billing space, I was pleasantly surprised. However, what surprised me more was the absence of coverage in the ‘mainstream’ startup news space. (from previous understanding, such news does not ‘pay the bills’). But I digress…

So what is this ‘big deal’ innovation?

Shared mobile Internet subscription.

How it works it simple, you can give anyone on the GLO network access to your Internet bundle. You know, just like you can make your phone a hotspot and ‘share internet”, but this time, NATIONWIDE!

Think about that for a moment.

There are many ramifications of this type of pricing/sharing feature.

1. Multiple devices become activated. Before now, except you had a device with hotspot ability, the economics of enabling internet on all your devices made no sense. Paying for anything less than 7 GB per SIM card would mean you would be paying an unfairly ridiculous rate for internet access.

So for instance, if you had an iPad and a phone, you obviously consumed less internet on your phone. Therefore you would buy say 7GB at about $50 ($7/GB) for your iPad and another $20 for 1.5 GB ($13/GB). Look at the rates and see that it made it painful for people to have more than one connected device especially when you did not need all of the 7GB bandwidth for the iPad.

Now, with this feature, you buy at the better rate (the 7GB package) and share on all your devices without feeling ‘cheated’.

2. Nuclear family: The bad economics of buying internet access also affected internet socialism at home. Now spouse and kids do not need to wait for Daddy or Mummy to return before they can use the internet. Buy at the best rate and share for everyone. 

3. Far-flung family: To me, this is the most impactful. The other scenarios has at least an alternative. you could use your phone as a hotspot (if it had one) or buy the $150 MiFi device. But for the sibling or family member in another state, there was no alternative.  Right now, I can ignore momsie’s insistence on “no need for internet on the phone” and give her access so we can use one of the numerous IMs to communicate.

The economics of having a family/company internet account is AMAZING. approx. $110 for 30GB ($3.5/GB)

Of course there are limitations presently as this can only work if everyone is using a GLO device. Not a problem for data devices (iPad and Laptop).

Another limitation is that you can pair only about 5 devices. I’m sure that can be sorted out in the future. I am imagining what this would do for internet penetration when one account can be use to service a school.

In general, what this means is that there will be more internet consumption and more importantly, deeper penetration. People that had a good reason not to use the net now have less reason not to.

I think that is a pretty big deal.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. Blogging does not pay ANY bill of mine. I have not used this service yet. I currently use Etisalat which is blazing fast but finishes quickly.  Previously, I was also positive about Mobitel until they became ‘not too good’


Please pardon typos, I just don’t see them.

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I am a founder of Fonebase Labs, a Nigerian technology company. Our products are Fonenode - a telephony API, Callbase , a virtual contact center and WriteRack the best way to tweetstorm. Feel free to holla at me (ositanwoye@gmail) if need be.

4 comments | Categories: Technology | Tags: , , , ,

  • This is a BIG deal. They learned from AT&T and a partner of ours probably helped with the provisioning 🙂 Let us hope that it is consistent. This also shows that the data space is becoming more competitive and the cartel has been broken finally.

  • Editi and I were talking about how telcos could create data ecosystems a few weeks ago, and it seems they finally caught on. It won’t be long before the rest start scrambling to create their own walled data gardens.

    The economics for the consumer are already obvious from your post. For the telcos, it means less customer attrition. Very hard to switch data providers when all your devices and extended family are sharing the same data plan.

    The only misgiving I have are the perennial issues with network quality. Whenever Glo’s network misbehaves, you’re essentially fucked. Unless you feel like buying alternative SIM cards for all your data dependencies. That would be very painful indeed.

  • F

    Great stuff.
    I hope they look at the numbers and bring the price down accordingly to get more people on board.

    There is no ‘limit’ to internet consumption as far as I know…it’s not a product that people like to ration. So as long as it’s there it means people will simply use it.

    If they dont price this properly, then it might unwittingly lead to the square one of ‘internet socialism’ that you mentioned.
    Give my kids access…they are on holiday at home…they ‘finish’ the internet in 2 days before I get home…oya disconnect them straight.

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