You’ve heard of Telkom FreeMe, now prepare for MyBroadband FreeUs – a deal which blows mobile data packages out of the water. Telkom’s offer of 20GB for R599 on FreeMe and Cell C’s SmartData package of 100GB for R899 may have got you all excited in recent months, but you can forgot about those deals just like you forgot about VHS. MyBroadband has launched its FreeUs app for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, which gives users unlimited, unshaped mobile data through a clever app.
And we’re not talking “unlimited” with a fair usage policy – this is unrestricted and there are no data or speed limits. Too good to be true, you say? Here’s how it works.
The FreeUs app is like a mini operating system on your phone. The app contains web browsing and file-sharing functionality, and includes embedded versions of popular apps – such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Netflix, DStv Now, and Uber. Once you open the app, you are connected to a MyBroadband server which zero-rates all mobile data used.
The MyBroadband server also connects to popular hubs and services directly, such as Netflix’s content delivery networks in South Africa. This not only ensures low-latency, high-speed connectivity, but helps you get the most out of your free data. MyBroadband has signed deals with Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom to ensure their customers receive free data usage while in the FreeUs app.
This means you will not pay a cent for any data you use while in the app.
Unlimited data, limited advertising
Now that you know how it works, the next questions is: How can MyBroadband afford to offer all that data for free? We’ll be straight with you, there may be “a couple” adverts during the app experience.
The first component is that the FreeUs app is defaulted to MyBroadband.co.za as its home page. This cannot be changed. While accessing the web browser in the app, users will also be required to view the MyBroadband website for 1 minute for every 10 minutes of usage.
To make this easy for you, the browser will automatically navigate to our website, after which a script will run that cycles through several articles. Free Netflix, Showmax, and DStv Now data usage also does not come cheap, and users will be required to watch a minute-long advert from their mobile network provider for every five minutes of video streaming. The networks have each pledged to make at least three adverts, and the video clip will automatically play in the streaming service you are using.
Other adverts which will appear as part of the FreeUs experience include:
- Full-page pop-up adverts.
- Those small, almost-hidden videos which play audio and take forever to find.
- Reminders to sign up for the MyBroadband newsletter and forum (which can only be removed by signing up for the newsletter or forum).
So what are you waiting for?
Download the Free Us app today.
If you’re reading this, I’m sorry — your internet provider now knows you’re a fan of Mashable and they could sell that information. Please don’t blame us. This week, the U.S. government ripped apart the rules former Federal Communications Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler put in place to protect your privacy while browsing the web. Now, thanks to a new administration, who you are — based on what you do online — is now for the taking… for a price. Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, all the companies you hate to hate, can sell information about your privacy to the highest bidder, a.k.a.
advertising giants. It all sounds rather ridiculous and quite alarming. Business editor Jason Abbruzzese and I chatted with Gigi Sohn, Open Society fellow, to learn how this all happened and why. Sohn served as counselor to Wheeler when he served as chairman.
You can listen to the podcast here:
Sohns advised on several telecommunications and media policy issues, including broadband privacy and net neutrality. Now, she works with Open Society Foundation. As the counselor to Wheeler, who helped put these broadband privacy rules in place, she’s obviously upset about the derailment of the rules. She walks us through both sides of the issues and what’s to come.
“When it comes to your internet providers you have no protection,” Sohn said. “I think number one Congress should repeat the law that prohibits the FTC of regulating the broadband market.”
What’s next? Is there any hope? Sohn hoped that more people would speak out about this being an issue.
She recalled efforts by the late-night hosts, such as John Oliver and Stephen Colbert, to bring awareness to the campaign for net neutrality.