Primus has sparked an interest in the residential wireless and mobility market, with its new WirelessHome plan launched today.
WirelessHome comprises a standard ADSL Primus broadband plan bundled together with a wireless modem that enables a wireless local area network (LAN) in and around the home.
The modem, an Open Networks iConnect access 624W all in one DSL modem, wireless router and with a four port switch, is available at half the normal retail price for $119 (plus postage and handling) with any one or two year Primus contract when bundled with telephony. The modem can also be purchased separately from Primus for the full price of $239.
Although Primus introduced a wireless hotspot add-on service for its business customers a few years ago, this move is the ISP's first residential wireless offering.
Primus' product manager Andrew Sims, said this first foray into the residential wireless and mobility space was a way to test the waters and also take advantage of the burgeoning laptop market.
"In the future we may look at what other opportunities are in this market. Later on, for example, we may look at introducing a unit that can do wireless, DSL and VoIP... but right now we are seeing a big growth in the consumer laptop market, with manufacturers dropping their prices and making them more available to the mass market. We recognise this and we don't want the experience to be a difficult one for the customer," he said.
"So far, it has generally been up to the customer to go in to a retail store and buy the individual wireless modem and take it home to set up themselves, but that can bring problems when, for example an ISP is particular about which modems it supports, and people can not always get support from their ISP to help them set it up."
The WirelessHome package includes a CD Rom that Primus has put together in conjunction with Open Networks which aims to make the set up process very easy for the customer.
"All the customer needs to do is provide a password and user name and the CD Rom fully configures the modem and the PC, and secures it all. It just takes all that hassle away for people," Sims said.
Primus will then provide support for the wireless modem and the first additional computer connected to the LAN. Problems with additional computers will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
Sims said Primus chose to partner with Open Networks because it has a good track record with its equipment and has been providing Telstra with ISDN equipment for years.
Primus has approximately 150,000 residential ADSL customers.