Three sisters — Kholeka, Tobeka, and Bongeka Lwana — have launched an Internet service provider to make connectivity more accessible in South African townships.
Lokshin WiFi, a low-cost wireless Internet service provider (WISP), launched on 12 August 2022.
WISPs are Internet service providers offering subscribers a point-to-point wireless connection to the Internet, usually over a technology that uses unlicensed radio frequency spectrum like Wi-Fi.
Lokshin WiFi uses FibrePoynt’s — a fixed wireless broadband provider — cloud-based platform and solar-powered network infrastructure to provide low-cost Internet connectivity to consumers and small businesses.
The project aims to provide affordable connectivity in townships and semirural communities in Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
“We are making technology easily accessible to this audience, where it was previously inaccessible,” Kholeka Lwana said in an interview with City Press.
She added that mobile users could buy Wi-Fi access passwords for educational, skills development, and ecommerce purposes.
The company partnered with FibrePoynt as its solar-powered infrastructure helps its customers stay connected during load-shedding.
FibrePoynt is a technology developed by Poynting in South Africa to reduce the cost of fibre deployments in neighbourhoods.
“This is especially helpful for students who need to study for exams or do their homework, and for entrepreneurs to keep businesses running,” Kholeka Lwana said.
Lokshin WiFi also partnered with Flash — a payment platform provider — to manage points of sale with its vendors, which include spazas and shisa nyamas.
Lokshin WiFI has a fluid approach to backhaul management, using whichever network has existing infrastructure in the specific areas.
Its rollout strategy is to focus on communities that struggle with connectivity issues.
“The choice of our current location in Olievenhoutbosch [in Centurion] is based on this, and our partners, Bellaggiotech, have an established footprint in Cosmo City, and we took learnings from Cosmo City,” Kholeka Lwana said.
She added that Lokshin WiFi plans on expanding to townships in all provinces within six months.
Lokshin WiFi isn’t alone in its intention to provide high-speed, low-cost Internet connectivity in South Africa’s townships.
eKasi Fibre, a prepaid fibre network operator, launched its services in the country’s fourth-largest township — Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal — in early 2022.
The company focuses on supplying low-cost fibre internet to previously disadvantaged regions of South Africa, and its customers can choose from speeds of 10Mbps, 25Mbps, or 50Mbps.
eKasi Fibre says it isn’t like other South African fibre network operators, as its packages are based on varying durations of access — from daily to three-monthly.
“We offer prepaid fibre internet in daily, weekly, monthly, two monthly and three monthly packages. We also offer speeds of 10, 25 and 50Mbps,” eKasi Fibre director Brad Lowman told MyBroadband.
“Our offering is uncapped and sold in windows of time rather than amounts of data. Our prices are not only competitive but also offer our target market a lot of flexibility.”
The 50Mbps service will cost R49.00 for a day of access and R229.00 for a week’s worth of fibre connectivity.
eKasi’s customers also have the option to purchase one, two, or three-month packages. These cost R679.00, R1,199.00, or R1,799.00 for the 50Mbps offering, respectively.
Lowman said eKasi Fibre uses high-quality cable and termination equipment to provide a lasting network.
“eKasi Fibre recognises that a network installed today needs to last and not only provide connectivity services to suit the needs of today’s customers but also next-generation services,” he said.