There is a small group of African ISPs that do the “heavy lifting” of catering to low-income customers. poah! Internet is one of them and it just lifted $28 million to increase its size. Russell Southwood talked to the CEO Andy Hallsall what the company has planned and the current state of the market.
When the Covid-19 hits poa! The Internet was coming out to raise its next round of funding. Inevitably, he had to lower his ambitions on the main period of the pandemic: “We are not growing as fast as before Covid. We had to control CAPEX expenses and not burn out early. It’s a bit frustrating. ” .”
The good news is that existing customers are using a lot more data, going from 160GB per month before Covid to 220GB during Covid. Even better, these increased volumes have continued: “It only goes one way.”
Its current footprint consists of semi-informal settlements in Nairobi and its surroundings, the latest being Donholm, Jogoo Road and Umoja. Currently, it reaches 200,000 homes with approximately 750,000 people. His list of places for further expansion are more communities in Nairobi and other urban areas like Mombasa and other cities. Once this part of the expansion is complete, it will look into other African countries.
Its main service is residential residential broadband, for which it has 12,000 customers. But it all started with Wi-Fi hotspots and they continue to play an important role as a customer pipeline. There are currently 50,000 hot-spot customers. Its products are aimed at the lowest incomes, the “low-end middle class”. Its customers are relatively young (in their twenties), still single or living with family, and relatively tech-savvy.
Any registered customer can get 100MB of free data per day: “We want to encourage people to consume a lot of data. Currently, most people do not have fiber to their homes and their experience is to use data expensive 4G mobile plans. . Using the Internet means consuming more data than you would with mobile plans.” This is why the average data usage per Safaricom mobile clients are in the hundreds of MBs rather than GBs.
According to Halsall, poa! Internet customers “use the Internet like people do elsewhere. They stream movies, educate their children, make Zoom calls, all those sorts of things. Their profile is very similar to someone in California. The volume driver downloads movies and YouTube. These activities are simply not viable on 4G mobile.”
The data market in Kenya continues to evolve. Volume operators are Safaricom and Airtel. The former has more than 16 million mobile data subscribers and continues to dominate the market. But he and most home fiber providers (e.g. JTL’s Faiba and Zuku) are focused on high-end neighborhoods and fiber rollouts and footprint expansion have slowed: “Everyone is did well with Covid-19.” These increased volumes caused wholesale bandwidth prices to drop by approximately 5-10%.
The trigger for its funding process was winning an innovation challenge organized by Africa 50, which put it in its investment pipeline. He has now lifted $28 million to finance its expansion plans.
The main takeaway is that home fiber is starting to grow rapidly: “Fiber is now passing between 0.5 and 0.75 million homes and the total market could be between 1 and 1.5 million homes. There’s 10 million that won’t get fiber (thanks to existing investment choices). Those are the communities we’re trying to connect. 4G/.5G won’t be used for streaming and that’s where we intervene.
Nigeria: Casava, from Nigeria the digital insurance company has secured $4 million in pre-seed funding to provide affordable and accessible insurance products to millions of Nigerians. Starting with income protection and health insurance, the insurtech startup leverages artificial intelligence and behavioral science to deliver game-changing claims and benefits products.
Liberia: At January 27, 2021 president of liberia George Weah attended the official launch ceremony for LTC Mobile’s (formerly LIBTELCO) new 4G LTE network, which The New Dawn Liberia reports includes VoLTE capability.
Nigeria: MTN Group announced the success of its Series 1 offering for the sale of 575 million shares of MTN Nigeria to local investors. The offering, which was implemented through a bookbuild to qualified institutional investors and a fixed price offering to retail investors, was oversubscribed 1.39 times with a total of 802, 0 million shares subscribed by more than 126,000 investors. A total of 661.25 million MTN Nigeria shares have been awarded, comprising the 575 million shares offered and greenshoe’s 15% of an additional 86.25 million shares. The gross proceeds of the offering amount to approx. ZAR 4.3 billion ($280.7 million).
Amdocsa provider of software and services for communications and media companies, today announced its partnership with Vodacom Group (Vodacom), an African leader in connectivity, digital and financial services, to create a African Center of Excellence (COE). The WCC will allow Vodacom deliver next-generation experiences to its customers in Tanzania, mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) by introducing standardized and flexible configuration, monitoring and monetization of differentiated services while providing a unified IT architecture across all three countries.
Segun OgunsanyaGroup CEO and Managing Director of Airtel Africa announced that Airtel Africa plc will join the FTSE100 on the London Stock Exchange. The FTSE100 is one of the most important benchmarks for global trade and includes the top 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with the highest market capitalization. Also American technology giant google will invest up to $1 billion in Indian telecom giant Airtel as part of its google for India Digitization Fund.
Uganda: Yo-Uganda Limited has been granted a payment system operator license by the Bank of Uganda. The issuance of the license comes after Yo! has successfully met the requirements of the large funds transfer systems category of the National Payment Systems Regulations 2021.
Communications Eutelsat (Euronext Paris: ETL) and Intersat, one of africa leading Internet solution providers, have signed a multi-year agreement representing several hundred Mbps to meet the connectivity needs of businesses, institutions and individuals in Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal. Under this agreement, which represents all available capacity in these countries, Intersat will leverage Eutelsat Konnect’s unrivaled coverage and reach to deliver robust, high-quality Internet service to customers beyond limits of terrestrial infrastructure.
Namibia: Co-creation Hub, is delighted to announce the launch of CcHUB Seedr in Namibia. CcHUB Seedr is an acceleration program designed to support impact-driven founders in emerging startup ecosystems, build sustainable businesses, and raise funds to grow and improve their operations. After an extensive review process in collaboration with CcHUB’s local partner – Startup Namibia, three startups were selected for the first cohort.
that of Chad The Ministry of Finance has issued a decree exempting imports of telecommunications-related equipment and accessories – including handsets, modems, routers and tablets – from import duties and taxes for a period of five years . The government hopes the decision will lower the barrier to the public’s entry to participate in the digital economy.