This is usually how the story goes; you decide you need an Internet provider to meet your individual or businesses’ internet needs. So you subscribe to one of the ISPs in Uganda and you can’t wait to start browsing away.
Two weeks down the road, you begin to notice the speeds aren’t quite what you’d expected. You try to contact your provider’s customer care, but they can’t get back to you — on time. Or maybe they can’t solve your issues. Or maybe your business needs to move to another location which means moving lots of equipment around.
Here’s a cheat sheet you should always double check before you settle with a specific ISP. This is going to be a 5 part series of articles tackling each factor separately as opposed to having one long post. Today, I’ll be looking at ISP categories which are based on the kind of internet users we have in Uganda.
For starters, internet providers serve different needs or customers. Business customers for instance have different needs from a smartphone user who has different needs from a home user.
Business users usually have a fixed office with more than 5 computers connected in a local area network. That means a business user can’t afford to purchase a USB modem for each computer on the network for instance. Instead, to cut down costs and for easy management, a business user wants to have a single internet link to their premises. They need the network to be more secure to protect critical business data sent or stored on users’ computers. Therefore a business owner should opt for a business friendly ISP. One that provides them a secure, dedicated, always on internet link that can be shared among several computer users. These ISPs are called fixed-line ISPs and include the likes of Roke Telecom, One Solutions, Datanet among other business ISPs we already listed.
A smartphone user is different. They are always on the move. They don’t usually need to share their internet with several other people. In most cases, all they need is to Whatsapp, check email, Facebook and watch some Youtube videos. This kind of user (which is the majority of Ugandan) need a mobile Internet Service Provider or mobile ISP. Mobile networks such as MTN Uganda, Airtel Uganda which already provide mobile communications to users can perfectly provide mobile data to smartphone users. To put it more simply, if you are a smartphone user, your mobile network should provide you with data services.
Lastly home users are an in-between business user and smartphone user. A home user has a family of say 5 people. That includes Kids who need internet to do their homework. Then Dad/Mum who have to finish up some work reports from home. A typical Ugandan home has a mixture of smartphones, tablets and laptops owned by different family members. So they need an ISP that can provide a single internet link that can be shared among several users. However, it shouldn’t be expensive both in installation(modems, Mi-Fis) and running costs(data bundles). Usually, mobile networks with Mi-Fis are a perfect fit for home users.
Therefore before selecting an ISP, decide which user you are; smartphone, home or business user. This will help you make the choice of the best internet provider for you.