By Mc Donald Chapalapata, a Contributor
In a quest to increase high speed internet availability at low cost, TNM Plc has partnered the world’s technology giant Facebook to roll out public access Wi-Fi hotspots in the country.
Powered by Facebook, TNM Express Wi-Fi enables communities to access fast internet connectivity at affordable rates.
The partnership will see more Malawians connected through a number of internet hotspots commissioned at various points across the country.
“As a local brand we are happy to bring this service in Malawi and to connect more people to the digital world. Through the partnership, TNM is supporting affordable access to the digital global world so that Malawians can be counted as well,” said Michiel Buitelaar, TNM’s Chief Executive Officer.
He said the service offers multiple benefits to Malawians with Wi-Fi enabled smartphones and devices.
“Express Wi-Fi gives more internet options and a better browsing experience for users as any mobile phone user within Wi-Fi coverage of the hotspot is able to connect by buying the special data packs. The service is open to users of other networks without necessarily switching to TNM network,” he said.
Buitelaar said Express Wi-Fi has the potential to drive higher internet usage and hence allow users to do so much more.
“The Introduction of TNM’s Express Wi-Fi resonates with TNM’s commitment to bring innovative digital technologies that connects Malawi to the digital world,” said Buitelaar.
He explained that the service is designed to complement mobile data offerings by providing a low-cost, high bandwidth alternative for getting online and access apps, download and stream content.
Buitelaar said anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled device could access the TNM Express Wi-Fi network by signing up at an Express Wi-Fi hotspot or retailer and purchasing a daily, weekly or monthly data pack.
They will need to register or create an account, login and start browsing. First time users will get a free 100MB of data, according to Buitelaar.
In a separate interview, TNM Head of Band and Communications Louis Chipofya said they will ride on the Sand music Festival to launch the TNM Express Wi-Fi to give people a feel of the product.
“This is fast internet with speeds for up to 20Mbps on Express Wi-Fi, and have a 4G experience on any device, including a 3G device,” said Chipofya.
He also explained that it is a ‘once-off log-in’ saying once a customer logs into TNM Express Wi-Fi for the first time, there is no extra log-in required again, and customers will seamlessly connect once any Express Wi-Fi hotspot is in reach, in different places adding that most platforms require one to log-in every time he or she are within the reach of the Wi-Fi, which is inconvenient.
“Unlike most Wi-Fi platforms which require vouchers to be printed and then loaded after log-in, the Express Wi-Fi platform is able to sale electronic vouchers directly to customers, and these vouchers can be used on any mobile phones, tablets and computers once customers receive them. Vouchers are loaded directly to the customers’ phone number,” explained Chipofya.
He also said the service is accessible by TNM and Non-TNM numbers in Malawi
“There are no restrictions of phone numbers that can access and buy data vouchers for Express Wi-Fi, numbers from other network providers can also log-in and get electronic data vouchers from TNM Express Wi-Fi,” said Chipofya.
TNM is the 9th company to connect with Facebook to offer the express Wifi hotspots in Africa.