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Currently I’m accessing the internet from home via my Nokia N95 as a GPRS dongle. The speed is ok, slightly better than dial-up, but nothing amazing.

MTC (the carrier) mobile access like this costs N$ 1 per MB which is quite reasonable for data.

However now I’ve got a permanent place to live I’m getting itchy for a less expensive and quicker solution. Lots of people I know here use analogue dial-up via NamTelecom.

Let’s do the following calculations:

  • Supposed connection rate of 56kbps usually has about an 80% efficiency giving end-to-end data of around 44.8kbps
  • When dialled up it’s very rare to be fully utilising bandwidth all the time so let’s use 50% as a utilisation figure for the link which gives an actual throughput average of 22.4kbps
  • 22.4kbps = 2.8kBps = 0.002734MBps or 1MB in 6.09 Minutes
  • At peak rate (N$ 0.37 per minute) this works out as N$ 2.25 per MB
  • At off-peak (N$ 0.18 per minute) it would be N$ 1.09 per MB

In other words more expensive than the mobile. Of course this is a very simplistic calculation making a wide range of assumptions.

For example, all the goody-goody update stuff that runs in the background would perhaps push up analogue link utilisation as well as total mobile throughput skewing the figures more in favour of analogue.

It’s also possible to get ADSL service via NamTelecom on either a 12 or 24 month basis (24 months always being far cheaper).

  • 256kbps ADSL over 24 months with a 1Gb cap is N$ 401.35 per month (N$ 0.39/MB if full allowance is used)
  • 256kbps ADSL over 12 months with a 1Gb cap is N$ 631.35 per month (N$ 0.61/MB if full allowance is used)

So GRPS is cheaper than analogue (probably) and ADSL is cheaper than GRPS (if fully utilised).

Hmm… choices, choices. Not like the good old days of Demon Internet 7.5Mbps ADSL with a 60Gb usage cap (they of course called it unlimited but then, erm, limited you if you went over 60Gb).

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