South Africa Start-up, e-Mbizo Solutions is making great money providing internet access to places that are unreachable through free Wi-Fi.
They provide a band width of 250MB a day and sells unlimited access as R10 per day. This is what the CEO Thabo Malebadi had to say: “We started the company on the premise of providing free or highly affordable Internet services by building a homogenous wireless network across different townships and rural areas.”
This start-up is under three people, Malebadi, his father Joseph Malebadi and partner Chris Reynolds. Thabo Malebadi comes for an IT background, Joseph is an electrical engineer and Reynolds serves as a chief financial officer.
The network already covers parts of Tembisa, KwaMhlanga, Vezubuhle, Verena, Seabe, Soshanguve, Marapyane, Vaalbank, Siyabuswa, Kwaggafontein and Moutse. The areas span three provinces — Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. They do their own installations
The Wi-Fi network serves about 3 000 users on a daily basis, with a high of 20 000 people using it last month.
His choice of area his has covered is greatly influenced by the high cost of the low quality of service the mobile networks provide.
“People have expressed dissatisfaction about the manner the networks have exploited these communities, which are predominantly prepaid, therefore presenting a low-risk market opportunity,” says Malebadi.
Users of e-Mbizo’s Wi-Fi network can connect to the free but limited Internet service, which is capped at 250MB/day. They also have the option of a paid service, where R10 vouchers can be purchased granting users access to uncapped Internet for a day.
e-Mbizo provides free Wi-Fi to more than 30 schools in Tembisa, and plans to hook up at least 220 more schools with access to the Internet in Mpumalanga and Limpopo, offering them e-learning materials.
Malebadi says e-Mbizo also works with entrepreneurs on the ground to provide skills development, sales and technical support for customers.
“e-Mbizo has established a partnership with the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality’s economic development department that aims to uplift the community and establish sustainable business models from which entrepreneurs can benefit.”