Google and Wananchi’s “Wazi” Wifi initiative to avail low-cost WiFi in Nairobi

Google, as part of its efforts to support local businesses to explore how to provide high speed WiFi at low cost, has partnered with Wananchi Group to launch an experimental WiFi network – called “Wazi” – – at the Junction shopping area in Nairobi, Kenya.

The network offers 10 minutes free access and paid daily or monthly subscriptions. To use the service, one connects to the SSID “Wazi” and selects his/her free or paid plan, with the payment modes being through either credit card or mobile payments channels.

According to a post by Euan Guttridge, Google’s technical program manager for Emerging Markets, “it is still not clear if or how the network will expand, but there are discussions among local businesses to explore the options.”

Basically, Wazi WiFi aims to explore business models that can sustain high speed, low cost WiFi in emerging markets and is a collaboration between Google, Kenya’s Wananchi Group and other local businesses.

Charges for the service will be calculated per device and the service has no firmly set bandwidth caps, even though responsible use of the network is emphasized.

The charges are as follows: 10 minutes per day, per device is free; one day, per device is Kshs 50; one month, per device is Kshs 500 KSH and the price may change over time as new commercial models are explored.

To access the service, one can choose his/her package and pay online using MPESA, VISA, Airtel Money or PesaPal.

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