Vodacom has taken the wraps off WebBox, an Internet device that connects to consumers’ television sets. The operator hopes the product will extend Internet access to more South Africans.
Vodacom SA commercial director Romeo Kumalo reckons the device will “change the face of Internet connectivity in SA”.
“This device will ensure that Internet access is available to many more South Africans who previously had limited or no access,” says Kumalo.
WebBox is a Vodafone product developed for customers in emerging markets. It has a keyboard that comes with a Sim card and a built-in modem that provides a simple user interface, enabling users to navigate between services such as Web browsing (via the Opera Mini browser), SMS and e-mail.
Other services include FM radio and an online photo album as well as games and video and music players.
According to Vodafone literature, the device supports Edge connections but does not connect at 3G speeds. It can be hooked up to a TV using regular RCA jacks.
The product costs R749, and includes a 2GB SD card, a prepaid Sim card and 100MB of data, valid for the first three months. Vodacom also plans to offer the product on a 24-month contract soon.
Vodacom has called a press conference for Tuesday at Vodaworld in Midrand, presumably to provide more details about the WebBox.
MTN, meanwhile, is holding a press conference on Wednesday in Mamelodi outside Pretoria at which it is promising to unveil a device that “provides affordable Internet access without needing an expensive laptop”. — Staff reporter, TechCentral
Video demonstrating the WebBox, courtesy of Vodafone: