Internet subscribers will see a reduction in roaming cost in the region following introduction of a Wi-Fi hub in Africa by telco Liquid Telecom.
The Africa Wi-Fi Hub allows subscribers under the operators and Internet service providers (ISPs) to connect to hundreds of locations in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Plans of rolling out the service in additional markets are under way. Upon joining the hub, the operators make their public Wi-Fi hotspots available to some of Liquid Telecom’s Wi-Fi roaming partners, in turn joining a global network of public Wi-Fi hotspots without the need to negotiate roaming pacts.
Liquid Telcom Kenya chairman Ben Roberts said the new roaming partnerships will ensure subscribers access high quality, reliable Internet across Africa.
“Africa Wi-Fi Hub is an important step in bringing together the region’s Wi-Fi networks, reducing cost and complexity for operators and extending coverage for their subscribers,” said Mr Roberts.
Growth in the number of local IPSs and operators will enable subscribers to easily and securely connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots and avoid costly data roaming charges. Wi-Fi roaming enables mobile operators to offer international coverage at far lower costs than mobile roaming, providing connectivity for international travellers as a bundled service.
Current Liquid Telcom’s roaming partners include major Tier 1 carriers, such as BT, as well as leading global Wi-Fi network providers, such as iPass.
Its partners and customers can connect to Africa Wi-Fi Hub through peering points in eastern Africa and southern Africa, with the option to connect to hundred locations in one country or join a global network of public Wi-Fi hotspots. Africa Wi-Fi Hub is also available as a white label service to partners and customers, providing them with brand visibility across all or part of Liquid Telecom’s network.
In January, the company entered into a partnership with GlobalReach Technology to deliver high-performance managed Wi-Fi services in Africa.
Liquid Telecom’s managed Wi-Fi services are available to businesses that want enterprise-grade Wi-Fi without the worries of procuring and managing a wireless LAN service.