Nigerian Wi-Fi start-up raises $2.1M, cuts Internet costs in half

Nigerian Wi-Fi start-up raises $2.1M, cuts Internet costs in half
August 18, 2017 admin_tizeti
In TIZETI Unlimited Internet

According to Wif-fi now

In 2012, Kendall Ananyi and Ifeanyi Okonkwo had a vision to start a Netflix-type service that would allow people in their city of Lagos, Nigeria to stream movies on their TV using set-top boxes.

It didn’t take long for them to realize one problem with that idea: Internet access in the area was so expensive that few people would be able to connect. According to a 2013 study, at the time a fixed broadband plan cost 39% of an average Nigerian’s monthly income, and a mobile plan cost 13 percent.

“We switched to the bigger idea of solving the Internet connectivity problem in our city,” says Ananyi. “We started building a network that would provide affordable Internet to everyone.”

Costly access in Nigeria

About 46 percent of the Nigerian population uses the Internet, which is up from just 5 percent ten years ago. But access has traditionally been expensive, which limits streaming services. According to the Alliance for Affordable Internet, most Nigerians do not have access to so-called “affordable” Internet, where 1GB of data costs no more than 2 percent of the average monthly income.

Ananyi’s company, Tizeti, aims to change that number by leveraging the power of two increasingly affordable technologies: Wi-Fi connectivity and solar panels. With a leased submarine cable as a foundation, Tizeti is building a network of owned and operated solar-powered towers that make internet access affordable for residents and small businesses throughout Lagos.

Unlimited, Affordable Connectivity

Now Tizeti’s brand operates 3,500 hotspots covering half of the city of Lagos’ 999 km². For businesses and larger homes, Tizeti offers roof-based radios to communicate with base stations and inside routers to distribute WiFi in the building. Public hotspots are also available.

Subscriptions are available by day, week, or month, for businesses and individuals. But unlike most Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the area, Tizeti does not limit data use. With, users can stream and download as many videos as they want – and they get it for half the price of traditional services.

Tizeti’s monthly plan costs N9500($30USD) per month, in comparison to a similar TelCo plan of N19,800 ($64USD) per month. Ananyi says that affordable connectivity has brought many new opportunities for Lagos residents, who are increasingly using Wi-Fi for government services, healthcare information, and electronic payments.

“The fact that we provide unlimited internet brings in a lot of customers,” says Ananyi. “We can fund more towers with the profits we receive from our existing coverage, which has allowed for expansion.”

A connected Lagos – and beyond

The company expects to reach the entire city within a year, and a new funding round of $2.1M USD has lead Ananyi and his team to consider expansion beyond Lagos to the rest of Nigeria and English-speaking West Africa.

“Our ultimate goal is to make the Internet affordable in Africa,” says Ananyi. “This would create a massive increase in Internet services and connectivity on the continent.”

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