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August 30, 2015
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iWayAfrica re-launches Ka-band service with exclusive no equipment contracts

INTERNET

Aug. 28, 2015, 8:23 a.m.
iWayAfrica re-launches Ka-band service with exclusive no equipment contracts

Dandemutande Investments (Private) Limited, a licensed Internet Access Provider operating the AfricaOnline, iWayAfrica, Utande and uMAX brands in Zimbabwe, has announced the re-launch of its iWayAfrica Ka-band VSAT service with a new nationwide campaign targeting households and businesses. The re-launch introduces affordable VSAT broadband pricing while completely removing the need to purchase any equipment upfront. iWayAfrica is exclusively offering 12 or 24-month contracts with free equipment subject to a nominal standard installation charge of $155, removing the huge barrier to entry for customers who require VSAT services.

Monthly service charges commence from $80 for 1Mbps with a 15GB data cap for the home. Additional value added services on speed guarantees and public IP addresses are also available for businesses from $314 for 2Mbps with a 50GB data cap. These prices are quoted inclusive of VAT and subject to a 24-month contract. All service plans include free browsing from 23h00 to 06h00 everyday as standard.

iWayAfrica’s set-up fee factors in the newly approved $20 annual Ka-band licence fee, which came into effect this week. Nhena Nyagura, Country Manager for iWayAfrica, commented that “iWayAfrica has been deploying VSAT services in Zimbabwe for over 10 years. We feel strongly that the new licence structure with accompanying iWayAfrica service plans will deepen internet penetration in Zimbabwe. It is well documented that every 10% increase in broadband penetration can trigger an additional 1.4% positive economic impact. iWayAfrica plans to lead this drive and continue its positioning as market leader in VSAT services in Zimbabwe for affordability, coverage and customer service”.

iWayAfrica’s VSAT service is simple to install, practical, durable and now even more accessible for both businesses and individual customers alike. New enquiries are requested to contact sales@iwayafrica.co.zw or call the 24/7 customer support line on (04) 76 000 400 for more information on getting connected.

 

August 30, 2015
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Do excellent deals on new smartphones even exist?

Wireless carriers are giving customers an incentive to shop around for less expensive smartphones.

As operators abandon contract plans and the device subsidies that go with them, they’re giving customers a reason to look more closely at how much it costs to buy a smartphone. These new plans require that consumers buy their phone at full price. Customers still have the option to spread out the cost of a new device, but in the end they must pay the full retail price tag. This is leading to savvy shoppers looking for deals.

But is it even possible to find a really great deal on a new smartphone these days? That’s the question one reader asks, as he hunts for a bargain.

Dear Maggie,

I was wondering if there is a place to find new — not refurbished — smartphones on clearance. I’m assuming the major cell phone companies likely don’t sell out of all their smartphones before they’re replaced by newer models. What happens to those older models? Is there any way I can buy a model that’s a year or two old but still brand new at a big discount over newer models? I don’t need cutting-edge technology; just something that works fairly well.

Thanks,
Richard

Dear Richard,

This is a great question. As wireless operators step away from two-year contracts with device subsidies and move toward plans where customers must buy their own devices at full price, there’s an incentive for subscribers to shop around for the best deal they can find on new phones.



CNET

As you’re well aware, brand-new smartphones, especially the most popular models, are expensive. For example, Apple’s iPhone 6 starts at $650 and the larger iPhone 6 Plus starts at $750. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge+, which has a curved edge, sells for $768. So it makes sense to try to find deals where you can.

Unfortunately, for the most popular brands and models, like the iPhone and Galaxy phones, such deals are hard to come by, if they exist at all, said Chris Sullivan, CEO of Gazelle, a site that accepts trade-ins on old devices and sells refurbished smartphones. The reason why, Sullivan said, is that since release cycles have gotten fairly regular, with major updates coming once a year, wireless carriers are better at gauging demand and managing inventory.

“The wireless operators have gotten very good at planning,” he said. “There just isn’t a lot of overstock of popular phones. That’s why we see a big opportunity in selling used devices.”

If there is any excess inventory, wireless operators will discount the devices themselves first. That’s what happens with last year’s iPhones and Samsung devices, which are usually discounted by about $100 when new devices come out. Carriers may also offer promotions to sell through their inventory. Whatever’s left after that is used to fulfill insurance claims. Third-party companies that handle insurance plans for wireless devices buy new and used inventory so they can replace devices for customers whose phones have been lost, stolen or damaged.

As a result, Sullivan said, older versions of the most popular phones almost never make it to a discount distributor that would sell them to consumers. But, he said, consumers might be able to find deals on less popular brands or models. For instance, older Nokia and Microsoft Windows Phone smartphones or LG and Sony devices might find their way to a discounter. You might be able to find small volumes of these devices on sites like Overstock.com, Amazon or eBay.

“The one place carriers might miscalculate demand is for newer phones that aren’t from a popular brand,” Sullivan said.

Heart set on an iPhone or Galaxy phone?

Timing is your best strategy for finding a good deal on more popular brands of smartphones. Whether you want a used device or a new one, you’re likely to find good deals on devices right before and right after a new version is announced. As luck would have it, this is the perfect time of year for Apple fans to look for deals on older iPhone models. Apple has already sent invitations for the new iPhone’s big unveiling on September 9. This means that people who want the latest and greatest smartphone from Apple will be thinking about upgrading once the latest version is released later in September.

In anticipation, carriers may start offering discounts on older versions of iPhones. After the new iPhone is announced, you can guarantee that Apple and wireless carriers will discount older versions. Usually the previous year’s model is $100 cheaper than the newer model. And iPhone versions that are older can be discounted even further.

Sullivan points out that this is also a good time to trade in old devices and buy refurbished phones. Customers who want to upgrade to the next iPhone will likely be trading in their current iPhone, so there will be a higher inventory of “newer” older phones.

None of the carriers would go on record about where specifically their excess smartphones end up. ATT provided this statement:

“ATT can utilize and reuse excess phone inventory, buy-back devices, and device returns in a variety of internal and external distribution channels. Any devices that are not reused internally or externally are responsibly recycled. Prior to any device being reused or recycled, a rigorous and intensive process completely removes any previous customer data.”

But a representative from another carrier, who didn’t want to be identified, confirmed that most unused new devices are used to fulfill insurance claims.

The bottom line

It’s really hard to find big discounts on the most popular smartphones. If you time it right, you can usually get $100 or $200 off the original price tag on an older model iPhone or Samsung phone. But you won’t likely find a 1- or 2-year-old Samsung Galaxy smartphone or iPhone for $300 or less in brand-new condition.

That said, you don’t have to spend more than $300 on a smartphone if you don’t want to. Refurbished phones are still an option if you must have the most popular brands. Otherwise, you can check Overstock.com, eBay and other websites that sell excess merchandise for less popular brands like Nokia, LG or Sony. A third option is to look for devices that are being made specifically for this price point. Motorola offers several inexpensive phones, as do several Chinese manufacturers.

Hope this was helpful, and good luck!

Ask Maggie is an advice column that answers readers’ wireless and broadband questions. If you have a question, I’d love to hear from you. Please send me an e-mail at maggie dot reardon at cbs dot com. And please put “Ask Maggie” in the subject header. You can also follow me on Facebook on my Ask Maggie page.

August 30, 2015
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August 30, 2015
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Tech Tips: Are you better off keeping Verizon contract plan?

By ANICK JESDANUN, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon is doing the unthinkable: Starting Thursday, the nation’s largest wireless company will eliminate two-year service contracts, along with the practice of offering discounted phones for $100 or $200.

Although this has already been an option with major phone carriers, Verizon joins T-Mobile in dropping contracts and discounted phones entirely for new customers. Under the new system, people will buy phones outright, with the option of paying the full retail price in monthly, interest-free installments.

This will be better in the long run. Although it’s nice to get a $650 phone for $200 with a contract, you pay for it in higher monthly fees for voice, text and data services. Here’s the rub: You keep paying those higher fees even after your contract is over.

The contract system largely benefits those who upgrade right at the two-year mark, even though many people wait longer if the old phone’s still working fine. The contract system also rewards buyers of the most expensive phones. With the change, you keep the savings when you opt for a cheaper phone with all the features and performance you need.

But contracts might still benefit you in the short run. With Thursday’s changes looming, should you rush to get a discounted phone, or wait for the new plans? Here are four things to consider:

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UPGRADE NOW IF YOU DON’T NEED THE LATEST MODEL

If you’re already with Verizon, you can keep your current plan. What’s not clear is whether you’ll still be able to get a discounted phone after Wednesday. Verizon Communications Inc. hasn’t responded to requests since Friday for clarification.

If you’re ready and eligible for a new phone, it’s safer to do so by Wednesday, before the new plans kick in.

That said, there’s been speculation that Apple and Samsung will come out with new models soon. The older models tend to go down in price then. An iPhone 6 now goes for $200 with a contract and will likely drop to $100 when its successor comes out. But saving $100 might not be worth the risk of having to pay full price — about $650 now, but likely to drop to $550 when the new model is out — if Verizon doesn’t offer discounted phones to existing customers.

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NEW PLANS MIGHT GIVE YOU MORE THAN YOU NEED

Even after paying full price for the phone, you might still break even or save money under the new plans. In general, service prices for voice, text and data are going down by about $20 a month, offsetting the value of the subsidy you’re losing on the phone under contract.

There are variations, though. For a single line, you’re paying $60 a month under the current plan for 1 gigabyte of data, but $19 of that is the value of the subsidy for the phone. You’re really paying just $41 for the service part. Under the new plan, the monthly price for service goes up to $50, not counting the monthly installment you could be paying for the phone. For 3 gigabytes, you’re now paying $71 after subtracting the subsidy. The price goes down to $65 under the new plan.

The 1 gigabyte plan might be cutting it close, especially if you use cellular data to snack on video. An hour or two will eat up your allotment. Because the price goes down at 3 gigabyte, the new plans might seem better. However, many individuals now have just 2 gigabytes. It’s $56 a month after subtracting the subsidy. The 2-gigabyte option won’t be available under the new plan, so you’ll be paying $9 more to get 3 gigabytes — when you need less.

Couples and families sharing larger buckets of data might also see price cuts under the new plans, but choices will be limited to 1, 3, 6 and 12 gigabytes. If you have something in between, think twice before switching. Verizon will let you keep your current plan indefinitely, but once you leave it, you likely won’t be able to switch back.

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SOME EMPLOYERS REIMBURSE FOR SERVICE, BUT NOT THE PHONE

August 30, 2015
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Total broadband subscription including 3G, 4G surpasses 18 million

ISLAMABAD (APP) – The total broadband subscription in the country has surpassed 18 million with mobile internet penetration was showing a reasonable growth till end of July this year.

The number of 3G and 4G users reached 14.6 million till month of July, constituting around 81 per cent of the country’s total broadband subscriber base. This translates to an increase of 8.3% over 13.5 million of preceding month, statistics released by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) showed on Sunday.

Similarly, the number of broadband connections in the country also witnessed 7 % increase to 18 million as compared to 16.9 million in preceding month.

Almost all of this growth is due to the roll-out of high-speed mobile internet which was introduced in April last year.

The Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) overall user base, which decreased by 18 % to 114.7 million subscribers in fiscal year 2015 amid the biometric verification drive, also showed signs of recovery in the first month of current fiscal year.

The number of cellular subscribers increased 1.5% to 116.4 million at the end of July. The data cleaning exercise had brought down annual cellular mobile tele-density from a peak of 76.5% in 2014 to 61 % at the endof June this year.

With regard to market share, the data showed that market positions of five mobile phone operators, however, remained the same as Mobilink ended at the top with 34 million subscriptions at end of July, followed by Telenor Pakistan, which finished second with 32.5 million users in the same period.
China Mobile Pakistan (Zong), Ufone and Warid were third, fourth and fifth with 22 million, 18 million and 10 million users respectively.

The mobile broadband category was dominated by Telenor Pakistan which boasted over 4.7 million 3G users at the end of July, up 13% compared to 4.2 million of the previous month. It was followed by Mobilink that increased its 3G users by over 8% to almost 4 million compared to 3.7 million of the preceding month.

Zong remained third in the mobile broadband with 3 million users on its 3G network and 132,502 on the 4G platform. Ufone’s 3G user base improved slightly to 2.6 million while Warid boasted 121,602 users on its 4G/Long Term Evolution (LTE) network at the end of July.

The data showed that till July, the number of technology-wise broadband subscribers included DSL 1,480,672 users, HFC 43,362 users, WiMax 487,582 users, FTTH 19,490 users, EvDO 1,334,725 users and
the number of others users was 6,089.