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17 February 2014 , 2:12 pm

Overcoming connectivity challenges in Africa

Mobile-Traveller2When you’re travelling, mobility is key. You want to stay connected with your loved ones and share your experience with your friends through pictures and videos.

Internet hotspots in Africa are limited, especially in airports. The greatest obstacles encountered by travellers are the exorbitant costs of Internet connectivity and unreliable WiFi connections. Often the WiFi that is available limits the size of downloads and so business travellers battle to download basic work emails.

Most travellers overcome these issues by enabling roaming on their mobile devices or buying a local sim card in the country they are travelling to. It’s also suggested that frequent travellers buy a MiFi device, which is a portable broadband wireless device about the size of a credit card that combines the functions of a modem, router and access point. The MiFi device creates a personal hotspot that shares an Internet connection amongst various devices, including phones, laptops and tablets. The Wifi connection can also be shared amongst a number of colleagues in range. Travellers that journey into the most rural African areas typically use satellite phones to stay in touch.

To assist their customers, travel departments within companies or their travel agencies should advise travellers on when to use roaming and when not to. In Tanzania, for example, roaming can cost up to R100 per megabyte, meaning that it costs around R500 to download the average email. These costs differ from country to country so it’s imperative that corporates use their travel policies to guide staff on how to overcome the connectivity issues within the different countries.

When it comes to strategy, corporates need to make staff aware of the connectivity issues they might face when travelling to different African countries, as well as the different options available to overcome these issues. It is also suggested that large companies try negotiating standard data and mobile rates with South African providers before their staff travel into Africa.

As a travel agent, how do you prepare your clients for possible connectivity issues in the area that they are travelling to?

 

Image source: Travel Daily Media

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This post was written by Amadeus Africa Team

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