Surf and Facebook today launched Express Wi-Fi by Facebook, an affordable public wi-fi hotspot service in Kenya, after several weeks under pilot.
The service is similar to Google’s Wazi Wi-Fi which died before figuring out how to monetize and expand. Safaricom also had a similar product but installed in Matatus which eventually died due to poor execution.
The two firms say there are united in their mission to connect the over 4 billion people who have no access to affordable internet and Kenya is just a start.
Express Wi-Fi by Facebook will be available in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.
“We’re excited to rollout Express Wi-Fi widely to Kenyan consumers,” Mark Summer, CEO Surf said. “We are honored to be working with Facebook, who powers Express Wi-Fi, and Internet Solutions, formerly Access Kenya, who is our service provider partner enabling us to expand rapidly throughout the country.”
Summer told TechMoran that the firm has a mix of both individual and corporate users especially SMEs such as cybercafes, kiosks, coffee shops among others as its retailers and direct customers.
At the moment, there are more than 100 Express Wi-Fi hotspots in several communities in Nairobi including Ongata Rongai where the launch event took place; in Limuru, Kiserian, Kitengela, Kiambu, Mlolongo, Ngong, Ruaka, Thika and Wangige.
Summer said the wi-fi hotspots are currently focused in areas where people gather for work, transit or entertainment such as markets, matatu stages and chill spots.
Surf is offering an introductory promotion, where every new customer gets 100MBs every day for 10 days, guaranteeing that the customers can experience the service as soon as they sign up. In addition, anyone connected to an Express Wi-Fi hotspot can access Facebook Flex and FreeBasics, a collection of websites including content such as news, employment, health, education and local information, for free while connected to the Express Wi-Fi network.
Express Wi-Fi is running on Internet Solutions Kenya network but Summer said there are still several other network partners working with Surf to see the project a success.