Orange: Internet Access on-the-go for Sh.1/min

orange-logoOrange Kenya is stepping it up.

Yesterday the company announced a 40% price reduction on their prepaid data plan for Fixed Plus (formerly Telkom Wireless) subscribers, offering internet access on their CDMA-based mobile handsets at Sh.1/min between 7p – 7a, down from Sh.1.75/min in the same time bracket.

Packet rates are up to 153Kbps, indicating that it is most likely using CDMA2000 1xRTT as its underlying packet service. Average rates are, however, in the 60-100Kbps range. Safaricom and Zain utilize GPRS and EDGE packet service for 2G handsets, and HSPA for 3G models.

It’s not clear if the rate extends through the weekends as well, but judging from the company site it appears the Sh. 3.50/min rate stands for peak periods 7a – 7p.

The new frontier that mobile service providers will be competing in is the data service offerings. Mobile data and video traffic is expected to increase exponentially on a global scale, judging from Cisco’s  recently updated Visual Networking Index.

Clearly, this plan and price reduction effort is targeted at home users, small businesses and “road warriors”. I think the offering will gain some traction over time among technology-inclined medium and low-income earners due to its present availability, low cost (free activation, low access rate, low denomination recharge cards) and powered by the need for information.