Target connectivity first, then 4IR ambition - Vodacom

Africa's 4IR

Vodacom exec stresses
need for connectivity.

Thursday, Nov 21st

Surf moves quickly to secure market share in Kenya

Surf moves quickly to secure market share in Kenya

Kenyan Wi-Fi service provider and ISP Surf, launched in March this year, will aggressively pursue partnerships with IT firms and other stakeholders in a bid to secure market share. Management has emphasised the company's market alliance with Internet Solutions and says this has been significant in its early growth.

The company says it is on track to increase its hotspot network from 100 in March to 1,000 by year-end.

Surf's leadership says the company offers a unique partnership and services model based on the provision of Wi-Fi services and a revenue generation opportunity for small businesses.

With this model, the company is looking to double or triple the amount of Wi-Fi hotspots in the country.

"The service has opened a whole new possibility for a whole new market segment that has not been served well. We think we are scratching the surface and there is a lot more of demand out there," said Mark Summers, CEO of Surf.

"The way we work it that we go into an area and establish a Wi-Fi hotspot it is typically in partnership with the local businesses in that area; it can be a small entrepreneur who has a small kiosk all the way to a large business which could be a mall," Summers explained.

He said that their new partnership with Internet Solutions has augmented their expansion into more areas.

"We have a partnership with Internet Solutions Kenya, which has enabled us tremendously in our growth because we can utilise their existing footprint and we don't have to do everything from scratch."

Surf uses Express Wi-Fi by Facebook. The social media giant is on an aggressive move to provide connectivity to underserved regions.

Summers said that the high cost of mobile internet and fixed broadband connectivity has paved a way for Surf to offer low cost hotspot connectivity. For example the highest data offer is 3GB for Ksh.500 - almost half of what mobile telecom companies are offering.

According to the latest Communication Authority statistics (quarter 4 year 2016/2017), Kenya's internet market penetration sits at 100.2% to clock 29.6 million subscriptions. Broadband subscription stood at 15.4 million representing a 34.2% penetration.


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