ThinkWiFi, an Africa-based ad-tech free WiFi internet service provider, and Mawingu, an internet service provider backed by Microsoft, announced it launched the first outdoor Telecom Infra Project (TIP) OpenWiFi network in Kenya
This collaboration is funded using an advertising-based model, the first time a TIP OpenWiFi network has been built and commercialised using a sponsorship platform.
“ThinkWiFi’s mission is to empower people by giving them access to the internet. We are a purpose-based business working to close the digital divide,” said Janine Rebelo, founder and CEO of ThinkWiFi. “Working with Mawingu and TIP OpenWiFi provides social upliftment where everyone can get connected to enterprise-grade Wi-Fi through an easy-to-use advertising platform. It’s a win-win-win where brands win by gaining access to high growth consumer segments, consumers win with free, uncapped, high speed connectivity, and the community wins by getting unfettered access to the digital economy through free Wi-Fi networks powered by advertising revenue.”
Managed from ThinkWiFi’s headquarters in South Africa, the Wi-Fi network uses TIP OpenWiFi certified hardware and software including access points (APs) from Edgecore and CIG. Wavespot provides the cloud controller which also implements the backend analytics and location-based services through its AICloud allowing ThinkWiFi to gain valuable customer experience insights. The Wi-Fi network is built on top of Mawingu’s network infrastructure.
“This network clearly demonstrates why TIP OpenWiFi is the most innovative connectivity solution on the market today – it’s open, with multiple vendors supplying hardware, so it can be scaled to provide superb speeds without vendor lock-in. Plus, funding the network through advertising makes community connectivity widely available, and as OpenWiFi already offers a much lower TCO, it’s a very effective way to build affordable Wi-Fi networks in city centers,” said Jack Raynor, TIP OpenWiFi Programme group co-chair. “Simply put, OpenWiFi is beneficial to the communities that we serve and that’s why we’ve seen it scale so rapidly around the world.”
The ThinkWiFi OpenWiFi network is the first part of a larger rollout that will include additional city centres, transit and tourist hubs and retail malls in Kenya and South Africa with future plans to expand into other African countries and southern European regions. The ThinkWiFi OpenWiFi network deployments are expected to cover a number of public service and healthcare facilities through collaboration and partnership with public organisations.
TIP OpenWiFi is an open source-based Wi-Fi architecture that enables multi-vendor, interoperable Wi-Fi networks. OpenWiFi-based solutions allow ThinkWiFi to seamlessly mix and match access points and controllers from any TIP OpenWiFi compliant manufacturer and developers to quickly create new applications given it is open source.