Thursday, November 6, 2008

'Dial-up is dead'

iBurst is again aggressively targeting the dial-up market; this time with a competition aimed at convincing South Africans to build an advertising campaign.

The company is asking South Africans to build an original television, radio or print advert with the central theme of dial-up being passé. “The idea is to delve into the minds of South Africans and find out how they think about broadband versus dial-up,” says Callia Doucas, iBurst's marketing head.

“The adverts should focus on the advantages of iBurst broadband over dial-up connectivity,” she says.

Participants must register and submit their entries on the iBurst competition Web site,, by 31 December.

According to Doucas, the best adverts will be selected according to the number of views and ratings on the Web site. The winning ads may be broadcast nationally in March 2009. Winners will also receive a Macbook Pro, valued at R50 000, and iBurst connectivity for two years.

“This is an opportunity for all South Africans with creative flair to get their ideas seen nationally. The adverts need not be professionally created. Just a quick video taken on a cellphone, or a sketched print advert would suffice,” adds Doucas.

Target market

iBurst has been targeting the dial-up user directly over the last few months. The company's latest campaign offers to replace dial-up modems for R200. The company also disposes of the dial-up technology.

World Wide Worx strategy MD Steven Ambrose says dial-up is definitely a dying connectivity option. By December 2007, Internet service providers reported there were 908 000 dial-up users in the country.

“We predict that by the end of December 2008, there will be 800 000,” adds Ambrose.

World Wide Worx is completing this year's research on connectivity and will soon release more recent figures.

iBurst has a subscriber base of around 50 000 users, making the dial-up fraternity a lucrative opportunity for the company. “iBurst is targeting the dial-up market and the company's offering does make sense for them,” adds Ambrose.

He says the objective consensus is that broadband is cheaper than dial-up, even if users are only online for an hour a week. “It doesn't mean that broadband is cheap, it just means that dial-up isn't cheaper.”

Ambrose notes that broadband has been fraught with confusing contract options and upfront costs, whereas dial-up is a more controlled connectivity option. “While it is a dying option, dial-up does have utility. Especially for those who just check mail and do Internet banking. This is a good marketing space for iBurst.”

Vox ADSL Phone

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