- launch of Sasai Wi-Fi Finder
Cassava Fintech International (CFI) and the Liquid Telecom Group (LTG) have announced the launch of Sasai Wi-Fi Finder, a potential game-changer in driving digital and financial inclusion in Africa.
The service, which will be offered across the continent, was announced today, and is set to be rolled at thousands of hotspots across Africa.
A 2019 report by the GSMA (the Global System for Mobile Communications) shows that affordability remains a significant barrier to Internet adoption in Africa, resulting in social, digital and financial exclusion. This partnership seeks to offer a low-cost solution for connectivity and to expand these services throughout the continent.
“We see this launch as a critical piece in the social digital inclusion agenda we are driving on the continent,” said Darlington Mandivenga, the Chief Executive Officer of the CFI Group. “Through Sasai Wi-Fi Finder, we plan to establish an expansive network of data access points across Africa and build ‘Africa’s Missing Network’ through partnering with broadband providers, Internet Service Providers and local community hubs,” Mandivenga said.
“We’re proud that our best-in-class broadband infrastructure network is the backbone of this service and is enabling more Africans to access the digital and financial benefits of the internet,” said Ahmad Mokhles, Group Chief Operating Officer of LTG.
“This partnership is providing consumers with affordable Wi-Fi access while local franchisees and partners are able to grow their businesses and the economies of their countries. This is a true example of the transformative power technology can have across the value chain,” said Mokhles.
The intuitive and easy to use Sasai Wi-Fi Finder will be an in-App feature on the Sasai super App that will allow users to identify hotspots at which they can access affordable data.
“We designed this service to be as easy-to-use as possible. A smartphone user will get free connectivity on-the-go through accessing the #SasaiWi-Fi Finder network to download the Sasai App and gain access to a wide range of in-app services,” said Tapera Mushoriwa, Chief Operating Officer of Sasai.
“When a new smartphone user has registered on the Sasai App, or when an existing Sasai App user opens the App, they receive automatic notification “pop-up” alerts showing available #SasaiWi-Fi Finder hotspots nearby. They also receive additional services, such as distinct indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi hotspot markers, directions to Wi-Fi hotspots, session usage, range and signal strength details – making it easier than ever before for African users to access the Internet,” Mushoriwa said.
The Sasai Wi-Fi Finder will allow greater connectivity in a variety of locations, including retail, health care, education, government and small business trade facilities. The App will also give millions of Africans access to social, entertainment and on-demand services offered on the Sasai super App, including Sasai Moments.
The partnership between CFI and LTG will see the roll-out of the Sasai Wi-Fi Finder in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa in phases over the coming months. The Sasai Wi-Fi Finder is accessible and available by downloading the Sasai super App from the Google Play store or the Apple Appstore.
Facebook Rolls Out Instagram Lite to Sub-Saharan Africa and Other Emerging Markets
Facebook has announced the launch of Instagram Lite to Sub-Saharan Africa, a new, lightweight version of the Instagram app for Android that uses less data and works well across all network conditions.
The new version of Instagram Lite for Android is less than 2MB in size, making it fast to install and quick to load. It also has improved speed, performance, and responsiveness. Instagram Lite not only works similarly to the Instagram app for Android, but it allows the Instagram experience to remain fast and reliable for more people, no matter what device, platform and network they use.
Commenting on the rationale for introducing the app to Sub-Saharan Africa, Engineering Manager for Instagram Lite, Peter Shin said, “Connectivity in the region can be unstable, slow and expensive, making it challenging for people to have a high-quality Instagram experience. Many people were already familiar with the concept of a Lite app after the successful roll-out of Facebook Lite some years ago. We started testing the new version of Instagram Lite when people across the continent started asking for a Lite app for Android. The feedback was very positive and we are excited to launch it across the continent today”.
“Our team aims to leave no one behind, so today we are very excited to bring Instagram Lite to people in over 170 countries, including the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region,” he added.
Instagram Lite is similar to the core Instagram app experience, though some features are not currently supported, such as Reels creation, Shopping, and IGTV. Instagram Lite is likely to gain appeal to users in locations with limited bandwidth or high data costs, especially in the developing world.
Instagram Lite is currently rolling out in over 170 countries, and Facebook remains committed to building and improving the app to help everyone in the world connect to the people and things they love.
Nokia and Airtel Kenya Lay 5G Foundations In Nairobi
Nokia announced that it has been selected by African mobile operator, Airtel Kenya in a three-year deal to modernize Nairobi with high speed 4G and 5G-ready hardware from its comprehensive AirScale portfolio.
Deployment, which began in June, will cover hundreds of sites and include upgrading existing 2G, 3G and 4G radio access network (RAN) coverage in urban, semi urban, highways, tourist spots and central business districts in Nairobi and the rest of Kenya.
Nokia’s future-proofed network infrastructure will also offer Airtel Kenya the option to smoothly transition to 5G when necessary. The upgraded network will deliver enhanced connectivity to customers of Airtel Kenya and access to new, high-speed data services.
Nokia is supplying Airtel Kenya with its AirScale Single RAN (S-RAN) portfolio for both indoor and outdoor coverage, including base stations and radio access products. These solutions will enable Airtel Kenya to deliver improved connectivity and capacity benefits including enhanced voice and data services to its subscribers while reducing complexity and driving cost efficiencies. The improved network will provide higher data speeds using additional 4G spectrum bands and provide access to secure, high-speed and reliable data services.
As part of the deal, Nokia will also deploy its cloud-agnostic NetAct software solution to securely manage Airtel Kenya’s networks. Nokia will also provide digital deployment, network planning and technical support services helping Airtel to launch its services faster to the market and ensure customer requirements for quality are met.
P. D. Sarma, CEO, Airtel Kenya, said: “We are in the midst of rolling out our network to enhance coverage along with modernization of our data network that will help us to deliver improved, high-speed data services to our customers. This will allow our customers seamless coverage enhancing their browsing experience further. We are excited to partner with Nokia on this project. Its technology portfolio improves our network quality considerably and also allows us to move to 5G services in the future.”
Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of CEWA Market Unit at Nokia, said: “This is an exciting deal in an exciting market. We are proud to supply Airtel Kenya with our comprehensive AirScale portfolio and support the operator with its efforts to deliver the best possible connectivity experiences to end users in Kenya. In a maturing market, we look forward to helping Airtel execute its strategy in the short-term as well as set it on the path to 5G services.”
Airtel Selects Ericsson to Modernize its 4G Network in Kenya
Airtel Africa is expanding its strategic partnership with Ericsson to enable 4G coverage in Kenya. With Ericsson’s Radio Access Network (RAN) and packet core products for 4G, Airtel subscribers will experience enhanced quality of voice and data.
The network modernization deal, signed in August 2020, is in line with the Kenyan Digital Economy Blueprint Vision 2030 which aims to provide robust connectivity in rural areas and facilitate e-commerce platforms. The modernization deal will drive the simplification and upgrade of the existing network and future-proof it for the anticipated rapid mobile expansion in the country.
With Ericsson Radio System and Packet Core solutions, Airtel Kenya’s network will have 4G coverage, while driving enhanced use cases in both the consumer and the enterprise segments. Ericsson technology shall make the network in Kenya ready for 5G deployment.
Prasanta Das Sarma, CEO at Airtel Kenya says: “Robust and secure communications are an essential component of a digital society in Kenya. We are firmly anchored to the strategy of delivering reliable connections across the country and are looking forward to expanding the high-quality mobile broadband services to our subscribers.”
Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “Together with Airtel, we will implement this project that aims to establish an advanced LTE network in Kenya, providing Airtel’s customers an enriched experience – both in the consumer and business segments. Through this partnership, we reaffirm our ambition to set #AfricaInMotion by partnering with Airtel to grow and support an increasingly digitalized society in Kenya.”
Furthermore, Ericsson will deploy its Kathrein Mobile Communication Antenna portfolio which will help provide additional enhancement to the network’s robustness whilst Ericsson’s technologically advanced network management system, Ericsson Network Manager will be utilized to support Airtel in managing the network seamlessly by integrating various network elements on single platform.
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