Facebook has been in the connectivity business for a couple of months under its internet.org initiative. Within this initiative, which is includes partners like Qualcomm and Nokia, are programs such as FreeBasics that allows internet users to get access to some content for free and Express Wi-Fi that works with carriers, internet service providers (ISPs) and local entrepreneurs to offer connectivity solutions to underprivileged areas in Kenya, Tanzania, Indonesia, Nigeria and India.
Facebook Express Wi-Fi was locally launched sometime in February 2017, to empower local entrepreneurs with a robust connectivity and tools provided by the social media giant to connect their communities. At the same time, Express Wi-Fi, which is distributed by an ISP called Surf is on sale at rock-bottom prices to offer better internet for everyone in covered regions.
Previously, pricing for different packages was as shown:
40 mb – Ksh.10
100 mb – Ksh.20
300 mb – Ksh.50
500 mb – Ksh.100
1.25GB – Ksh.200
3GB – Ksh.500
Pricing has been revised downwards to reflect the following charges per package:
100 MB – KES 15
400MB – KES 50
1 GB – KES 100
2.2 GB – KES 200
5.75 GB – KES 500
It has been determined that these cost subsidies have been put in place as coverage expands to newer areas. During its local début, Express Wi-Fi was limited to Nairobi and its surroundings. Further expansion has seen the addition of more than 600 hotspots in several major towns such as Mombasa, Naivasha, Eldoret, Kisumu, Mtwapa and Nakuru. There are plans to set up more hotspots in Western and Central Kenya.
It is no secret that the pricing model of these packages (paid via M-PESA or from sales agents) is pocket-friendly and the lowest we have seen in comparison to any other ISP or operator. Couple this development with Google’s Project Loon and you will begin to understand why competitors have no option but to up their game from an infrastructural and pricing point of view, else new and revolutionary players will surpass their offerings.