Yesterday evening, seemingly the entire Ugandan twitter population was at The Hub, Mojos Bar to witness Airtel's superfast 3.75 internet. I got wind of the event on twitter last week, and considering that I hang out alot at The Hub, I thought I might as well be there.
It was a fun evening, I got to put a few more faces to handles, and to meet up with a number of tweeps that I hadn't seen in ages. Airtel had 3 hotspots running on its 3.75G internet. Since I got there early, I got to see how fast it was before everyone else started downloading (pirated) movies and watching videos on YouTube. Then the HOTspots slowly cooled down. I had to get back to my 3G internet on operator "X" with name starting with "W". So for most of the evening I was thinking that the internet was still unstable, so I couldnt join it, and couldnt recommend it to friends...
Joseph Kanyamunyu, the PR Manager did his best to hype up the mostly geek crowd. But they are a bit of a complicated bunch! He played a movie to demonstrate how one can watch a High Definition video without buffering or waiting, they said he had preloaded it and demanded for another. He selected another, they said YouTube is optimised, and running on a local server, blah blah. They had their own select a download, which downloaded really fast, kinda calming them down.
Then a few speeches, the Managing Director's being the shortest at about 2 sentences, then the room was flooded with drinks and snacks and a Digital Obstacle Challenge introduced. I have a feeling the snacks hampered the progress of the obstacle challenge, though many blamed it on the internet and low light!
The first 50 people to arrive got cards with instructions for the obstacle course which involved liking a page, following a tweep, commenting, tweeting, watching a video, then scanning a code to see what you had won. Everyone was a winner, though only one tweep, Cedric Anil won a brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab generously provided by Samsung Uganda. The rest of us won 3G dongles and Tshirts.
I activated my modem last night to get a feel of the internet in real life, and so far am very impressed. It is so fast, I used up over 500MB in a less than 500MB. I was relieved to discover that my modem was preloaded with 10GB not 500MB as I'd been told! It is still going strong, I'll be talking about it more on twitter, I hope by the end of the week I'll have a good idea what its like and able to give recommendations. You see, one of the things about being a "geek" or "IT guy" is that people will take your word more seriously than creative (and sometime creepy) TV commercials. I've been using Warid's 3G since I left MTN last year, its not been bothering me much, infact its been running nearly perfectly, but Airtel's is a little faster and cheaper. Oh, and I just got 10GB free data to help me confirm whether its a better connection than Warid.
My preliminary verdict will be in next week, and at the end of the month we can say for sure whether its for keeps...
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