Liquid Telecom has launched a new Wi-Fi roaming hub that enables operators and ISPs to access its network of public Wi-Fi hotspots across Africa for the first time.
Africa Wi-Fi Hub will allow Liquid Telecom’s wholesale customers to access its public Wi-Fi hotspots, enabling their subscribers to connect to hundreds of locations across five African countries, leveraging the largest independent pan-African fibre network. These include Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, with additional markets to be rolled out soon.
By joining Africa Wi-Fi Hub, operators can also make their public Wi-Fi hotspots available to some of Liquid Telecom’s Wi-Fi roaming partners, joining a global network of public Wi-Fi hotspots without the need for operators to negotiate their own roaming agreements.
As more local ISPs and operators join Africa Wi-Fi Hub, Wi-Fi roaming is set to accelerate across the region, enabling more subscribers to easily and securely connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots and avoid costly data roaming charges.
“Africa Wi-Fi Hub is an important step in bringing together the region’s Wi-Fi networks, reducing cost and complexity for operators and extending coverage for their subscribers,” said Ben Roberts, Group CTIO at Liquid Telecom. “Through our new roaming partnerships, Liquid Telecom will be able to support more subscribers with access to high-quality, reliable connectivity across Africa.”
Liquid Telecom’s roaming partners currently include major Tier 1 carriers, such as BT, as well as leading global Wi-Fi network providers, such as iPass.
Liquid Telecom’s partners and customers can connect to Africa Wi-Fi Hub through peering points in Eastern Africa and Southern Africa, with the option to connect to hundreds of locations in one country or join a global network of public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Africa Wi-Fi Hub is also available as a white label service to partners and customers, providing them with brand visibility across all or part of Liquid Telecom’s network.
Liquid Telecom is continuing to grow its network of Africa Wi-Fi Hub partners and will be making further announcements shortly.
Wi-Fi roaming is a compelling value add for today’s mobile subscribers. More traffic was offloaded from mobile networks on to Wi-Fi than remained on mobile networks in 2016, according to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index. Wi-Fi roaming enables mobile operators to offer international coverage at far lower costs than mobile roaming, providing connectivity for international travellers as a bundled or a la carte service.
Research shows there is a direct correlation between internet access and economic growth, with World Bank statistics showing that a 10% increase in internet access results in approximately 1% of extra growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are an effective way to provide broadband access to local communities across Africa, and Liquid Telecom has been recognised for its role in a successful government initiative to introduce free Wi-Fi to underserved areas of Kenya.
In January, Liquid Telecom entered into a partnership with GlobalReach Technology to deliver high-performance managed Wi-Fi services across Africa. Liquid Telecom’s managed Wi-Fi services are available to businesses that want enterprise-grade Wi-Fi without the worries of procuring and managing a wireless LAN service. The service combines connectivity from Liquid Telecom with hardware from Ruckus Wireless and a cloud-based platform from GlobalReach, which provides authentication, authorisation and accounting (AAA) and customisable captive portals.