Aiming High: Easyweb Wireless

Easyweb Wireless has positioned itself as the market leader in wireless connectivity, boasting the fastest, most reliable wireless internet connectivity in the country, along with exceptional security and support.

With the slogan ”Simply The Fastest”, this WAPA member aims to become the largest independent wireless provider in the country, offering access to the Internet in places that other providers wouldn’t dare to go. However, they are realistic about the process.

Easyweb has been expanding steadily over the last three years, providing connectivity throughout Gauteng and the Free State, with over fifty high sites in this area, a large proportion of which are owned and managed by their highsite company, Easyweb Highsite ™. In their efforts to attain national reach, they are on a highsite and WISP acquisition trail, with the aim of building a fully independent backbone.

In terms of provision of services, Easyweb has always been proactive with designing and bringing new-wave technology to the client, and their service offerings include:
– Wireless Internet
– Network Security
– Hosting
– VoIP

According to Easyweb, Voice over Internet Protocol is one of the best inventions since the telephone itself, and they have been offering Voice over Data services since the eighties. In fact, Gary and Lionel Whitecross, the father and son team who own and run Easyweb Wireless, collectively have over 45 years’ experience in the industry – growing with it, so to speak.

Gary started off by working for Telkom as a telephone technician in the mid 70’s, then moving on to computer technology at Computer Warehouse. He started up Xenex Computer Systems in the mid-eighties, where he specialised in Bulletin Board Systems and analogue leased line technology using split baud modems. In the nineties, the advent of Internet Protocol and substantial growth in their client base, coupled with the need for more specialised services, motivated Gary to start up Xnet Internet Services, of which Easyweb is the wireless division.

Easyweb’s clients include the JHB Chambers of Commerce, Miro, Glomail Group, and Krok Group, and most of their referrals come by word of mouth. Lionel estimates that 50% of their clients have a limited or total lack of infrastructure in their area, making wireless provision a viable solution. For most clients, service quality is of greater concern that the cost of services, and they offer a proof of concept to companies signing up. The Easyweb team maintain that “it’s a cardinal sin” to not get back to clients requesting support and they are working on putting efficient tracking systems in place to address this.

Easyweb has been a WAPA member since 2009. They recognise the necessity of an industry representative body acting as a collective voice for independent wireless operators in South Africa and, as licenced providers, joined mainly for the regulatory support and networking opportunities.

The adversities faced by Easyweb are familiar to most WAPA members, notably the lack of legislative control which is allowing so many illegal networks to go up, coupled with what they deem a lack of ethics on the part of many smaller operators, which is damaging the market’s reputation. Other issues are the difficulty and cost involved in getting access to high sites, as well as spectrum scarcity and the lack of affordable spectrum.

Gary and Lionel would like to see WAPA become more proactive in lobbying ICASA to free up more spectrum. They would also like to see WAPA members sharing facilities and consulting with each other to manage interference issues effectively. They believe it is in the members’ best interest to work together to ensure the sustainability of the licence-exempt wireless access services market.

Easyweb Wireless will be speaking at the WAPA General Meeting at iWeek on the 21st of September.