Rural Internet Service Provider (ISP), Mawingu has rebranded as it prepares to close a new investment round and capture a larger share of the digital market in the country.
The ISP which was founded in 2012 below the foothills of Mount Kenya in Nanyuki, offers internet connectivity by building sustainable, flexible infrastructure in underserved regions. Since its launch, the firm has connected more than 7,000 homes and businesses, and 300,000+ hotspot users across the country in 15 counties.
Mawingu connects unserved and underserved communities in rural Kenya to the internet utilizing TV white space spectrum to deliver connectivity to solar-powered Internet kiosks, or ‘solar cybers’, in rural communities.
The company has already begun to increase its outreach into towns which have not been well served and neglected by the larger players in the industry. In the past few months, Mawingu has expanded into Marsabit, Garissa, Wajir, and Voi, towns which other providers have not given primary priority due to the high capital cost and logistical complexities involved in providing them with reliable and affordable connectivity.
“All these towns have proved that the unit economics of expansions with low-cost and flexible infrastructure can be successful.” Mawingu’s Chief Executive Officer, Farouk Ramji says.
Mawingu also confirms that the expected funding will be utilised to increase its coverage into 25 additional counties.
As part of its rebranding, Mawingu has introduced a new logo, a fresh set of company values, and its renewed mission, all reflective of its long-term vision to open opportunities to customers across the region.
“Mawingu’s aim is not to simply drop an Internet cable at someone’s house. We seek to help our customers access new opportunities for work, education, entertainment, and social connections, through the power of the Internet. Our company’s mission is driven by this very purpose: Open Opportunities.” Mr. Ramji adds.
Mawingu is now positioning itself as a provider of quality Internet at affordable rates, with the capacity and desire to connect frontier regions that have never had access to meaningful Internet. In just the past year, the company became EBITDA positive, and grew its sales by 300%, without having to incur new expenses.
The Kenyan Internet industry has traditionally been dominated by a few well-established players who have captured the larger share of the market in urban areas. Yet, the lack of rural Internet penetration has left a customer gap which smaller and more agile companies are now learning how to leverage.