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.
by Oo Nwoye
Yesterday I wrote a post complaining about underhand and I dare say fraudulent length GLO in conjunction with a VAS company is going to increase their ARPU (Average Revenue Per User). Since then, a few things have happened
- The spam texts have become more desperate. Some of the recent texts i’ve received are “Gooday I met u, I am Rose, wht is ur name?”; “Can I be ur friend?”; “Pls reply me, I want us to chat, am Temi”; “Hello I am very sexy”. etc. I have received a few missed calls too.
- I have an idea of actual VAS company that is behind the ‘service’
- I have got a link that will enable me petition the NCC Executive Vice Chairman directly.
Why this is important.
Unlike Loy who says “rants don’t pay my bills. I’d rather focus on covering startups than waste my time debating telco fraud”, I think this is rather important
- Telcos occupy a rather extraordinarily powerful position in technology ecosystem they should be held to account for misdeeds tat affect a lot of people.
- This is directly related to 3rd party mobile services provided on their platform. If VAS services are abused and become generally known to be unsafe, it affects all of us. We are still trying to get people to start using digital payment methods.
- There is a debate about the role telcos should play in mobile money. If my small prepaid airtime is not safe with telcos, what is the risk of giving the same people access to all my money in the bank?
So I will do my best to follow this up. I am thinking writing to the EVC might be too harsh considering I have not made a complaint to GLO. So during run-around today, I will stop over at their head office to file a complaint formally. I will see how that goes before proceeding with my other options.
by Oo Nwoye
Let’s talk tonight 🙂 – 5471705735
Your’s sincerely received the SMS above. The only thing slightly abnormal with the text was the number, but then again, I regularly receive calls from “spirit-like” numbers. So I did what any young man not allergic to receiving a seductive text would do. I replied “who’s this pls?”. A reply came about 10 seconds later. With a slight Ronaldoesque arrogance on my face, I picked up my phone with my left hand and clicked open the text.
Thank you for being a part of Frenszo Chat where you make NEW FRIENDS anonymously. Your chat id is 1380154.Start talking now!Dial 547 to chat with your friends.
I do not know what annoyed me more, the fact that the reply was not what I was expecting or that the fact I was DUPED into subscribing what I definitely did not want to subscribe to. This is not the first time I have complained about unsolicited communication. I am sure all GLO users are used to our friend 40404 and the SMSs from 1212 that try real hard to lure you into participating in a raffle. But this auto-subscribe Frenszo Chat takes it to another level. It is a scam. pure and simple.
Not the first time
I few months ago, immediately after loading a the grand sum of N500 airtime, I received a “missed call” from a strange looking foreign number. I called back. The call lasted about one second and it said my credit had finished. I smiled because I knew I had just fallen for a premium number scam. Unfortunately, I did nothing about it. I even sort of blamed myself thinking I should have known better. Thinking back, I can imagine how much these slimy bastards must have stolen from someone like my grandmum. This scam of course is not possible without the aid of GLO and other telcos. Assuming they are not directly behind it entirely. This time around, I will do my little bit and send send off a petition to NCC. Please, If you know anyone that can help make my petition have the slightest of effects, do let me know (ositanwoye@gmail).
The way forward
That Tweet by Mbwana has a high level description of the solution to this problem. There should be an “app-store” for VAS (Value Added Service). Most importantly, each VAS should have the identity and contact number of the company behind the service published. And there should also be a way to report the criminal services that steal. Someone should please run along with this idea and when you hammer, send my N500 recharge card.
Another important thing is that there should be a universal way/standard to unsubscribe to any service say by replying with the letter ‘U’. Or better still, opting out entirely from ANY unsolicited communication from telco’s and their added services.