ThinkWiFi and Mawingu Partner to Provide Disaggregated, Open-Source Wi-Fi Network Funded Through A Digital Advertising Monetization Model
Kenya, May 11, 2022—ThinkWiFi, an Africa-based ad-tech free WiFi internet service provider, and Mawingu, an internet service provider backed by Microsoft, today 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 commercialized 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 Program 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.”
“Mawingu’s aim is to help our customers access new opportunities for work, education, entertainment, and social connections, through the power of the Internet. Our company’s mission is driven by this very purpose: Open Opportunities”, says Farouk Ramji, Mawingu CEO. “Through our collaboration with ThinkWiFiand OpenWiFi, we can provide free internet to bring us closer to bridging the digital divide in Kenya.”
The ThinkWiFi OpenWiFi network is the first part of a larger rollout that will include additional city centers, 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 organizations.
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.
There are more than 300 companies involved with the TIP OpenWiFi initiative from OEMs, ODMs and silicon providers to managed service providers and app developers. Launched in 2021, TIP OpenWiFi has announced commercial deployments in the United States with Boingo Wireless, in India with Spectra, in Pakistan with Multinet, and a trial with the City of Dublin and Virgin Media that complies with the European Commission’s WIFI4EU initiative, the benchmark for public Wi-fi deployments in Europe.
ThinkWiFi’s mission is to reduce digital poverty and empower people whilst providing FMCG brands with access to high growth consumer markets. ThinkWiFi’s core ambition is Giving people access to free uncapped internet, through an immersive, data enriched, brand safe AdTech platform, .. We’re passionate about closing the digital divide while laying the foundations for the 4th industrial revolution for all under-served communities, by leveraging a powerful combination of Data analytics, Digital advertising and Open WiFi. Think WiFi’s AdTech platform delivers over 14 million ad impressions each month for a growing number of major FMCG brands and financial institutions, and is proud to be a member of the IAB SA which represents the South African digital industry to all sectors, including the marketing community, the media, the South African government and the public. For out more https://www.thinkwifi.online/
Originally founded at the foothills of Mount Kenya, in Nanyuki. Today, Mawingu has expanded coverage to 22 counties, +9,000 active users, and +300,000 hotspot customers served. We can proudly say we are Kenya’s largest internet service provider (ISP) dedicated exclusively to the rural and peri urban markets in the country. The key to our success? Our versatility. We employ wireless, fiber, and smart green-energy technology, making it possible to adapt to the changing terrain demands and market conditions. Learn more at https://mawingu.co
Wavespot is a leading provider of wifi network infrastructure and location-based services for service providers, quick-service restaurants, retail, hospitality, and healthcare. With its multi-vendor cloud controller and AI-powered analytics, Wavespot helps businesses improve their operations and customer experience through insights and automation. Learn more about Wavespot at https://wavespot.net/.
About Telecom Infra Project OpenWiFi
Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is a global community of companies and organizations that are driving open and disaggregated infrastructure solutions to advance global connectivity including TIP OpenWiFi. TIP OpenWiFi is an open sourced, community-developed, disaggregated Wi-Fi hardware and software system. The system includes a cloud controller SDK and an enterprise-grade access point (AP) firmware, designed and validated to work seamlessly together. OpenWiFi is managed within TIP’s Open Converged Wireless (OCW) project group, which enables industry collaboration to build, test and validate products that deliver the requirements of valuable service providers’ use cases. The OpenWiFi community currently includes more than 300 participants, including services providers, OEM’s, ODM’s, Software ISV’s, system integrators, silicon vendors & Industry organizations. Learn more about TIP OpenWiFi here.