(EcoFinances) – The Cameroon Airports Company (ADC) has for some time been offering users of Douala International Airport a paid internet connection (via Wifi), according to an announcement made by this public company in recent weeks on its various social networking platforms.
Although some of the communication media used by the ADC for the cause state that Internet connection via Wifi will be free at the airport, it turns out that it will actually be for a fee. In order to offer paid WiFi to its customers and users at the airport, the ADCs have enlisted the services of Bloo Sat, a Cameroonian operator specialising in the provision of « very high-speed » internet access throughout the country and in the sub-region.
Thanks to this partnership, the rates offered by ADC to its customers range from 10 FCFA to 12,000 FCFA. « To test whether the paid WiFi service works, users pay just FCFA 10. After that, if they want to surf locally or work from Douala, they can choose between spending FCFA 1,000 for Bloo Standard/day or FCFA 4,000 for Bloo Bronze/day. Or FCFA 6,000 for Bloo Silver for 02 days, FCFA 9,000 for Bloo Gold, which lasts for 03 days, and FCFA 12,000 for the unlimited BlooVip option, » explains an ADC executive in Douala.
According to the executive, the introduction of paid WiFi at this airport is part of the Douala International Airport renovation project, the roll-out of which began several years ago, and which should enhance the airport’s connectivity by improving its attractiveness through a more competitive and qualitative service offering, in line with international norms and standards in terms of security, safety and comfort.
Free Wi-Fi in Abidjan and Cotonou airports…
Except that it comes against a backdrop of fierce competition between the continent’s various airports (Abidjan, Cotonou, etc.), where Wi-Fi is generally free rather than chargeable. « Wifi should not have to be paid for in an international airport like Douala. Because it contributes to the attractiveness and customer satisfaction in terms of added value. Even the airlines have gone down this route, with free on-board Wi-Fi for passengers, » points out James Tonyang, an air transport consultant.
Thanks to NICTs, and the Internet in particular, the world has become a global village where it is now possible for the average passenger to be permanently connected, from home to their final destination, via airports and the plane. The other argument that the air transport expert puts forward is also, and above all, the fact that the air transport sector is one of the most dynamic areas of activity today because of its role in connecting the world’s states and cities through the regular flow of passengers and freight. « The ADCs’ initiative is to be welcomed, but we need to review the chargeable aspect of the Internet connection currently offered to users », he stresses.