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Vodacom to address net accessibility in South Africa with Webbook

Vodafone's Webbook is now on sale in South Africa

Vodacom, a subsidiary of Vodafone, has launched its own-branded netbook – the Webbook in South Africa. The firm said that the notebook will offer a simplified, value-added portable internet experience to citizens in the country.

The device runs on the free, open source Linux-based Ubuntu operating system, and Vodacom said that the accessibility of the device will be driven through its affordability with various pricing options available. The firm noted that, until now, many South Africans have had no internet access at all, or have depended on cellphones for internet connectivity.

“The Vodafone Webbook is going to offer the end user a compelling, mobile or at-home computing experience at an affordable price. We think this device is going to be particularly important and attractive for the emerging market,” said Chris Ross, managing executive for commercial development at Vodacom.

Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical founder and Ubuntu pioneer, added: “Ubuntu’s founding principle is to remove the barriers of access to computing for everyone, and products like this give hope of connectivity to people all over the world.”

The Webbook device weighs less than 1 kg and has a 10-inch LCD screen, 512MB of memory and an additional 4GB of storage space.

The pricing options on offer for Webbook are as follows:

As a standalone device with a prepaid option: R1499 ($185) including VAT.

With a prepaid Starter Pack, which includes a modem, SIM card and 100MB of data per month for 12 months: R1899 including VAT.

With a contract option, the device with a modem will be priced at R189 on a standard “My Meg 500″ contract for 24 months.

A top up option is also available and includes a modem and 100MB of data per month for three months at R169.

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