Kenyan hardware and connectivity startup BRCK has expanded its free Wi-Fi offering Moja to South Africa, offering users the chance to overcome challenges associated with high data costs.
Launched in 2013, the original BRCK is a rugged router designed for harsh environments with limited connectivity and power. The company has since rolled out further products – the Kio Kit for use in educational institutions, the enterprise-grade SupaBRCK, and the BRCK Moja – which can be used as a free public Wi-Fi hotspot.
Rolled out two years ago, Moja is now accessible across nearly 3,000 locations in Kenya and Rwanda, and differs from other public Wi-Fi services in that it is completely free for the consumer to use. BRCK monetises instead through its business customers, and has grown to seven million sessions each month.
Chief executive officer (CEO) Erik Hersman used his attendance at this week’s AfricaCom event in Cape Town to announce Moja has now expanded to South Africa.
“South Africa is interesting to me as it has a wide swath of smartphone users, many who can’t afford data bundles, and that is mixed with a more mature business market than is found in any other African country,” he said.
“We’re already inking deals with some great FMCG, bank, and insurance companies – and we’re also interested in onboarding more of the top-level content creators from this hotbed of talent.”
Hersman said Moja had seen such strong uptake because it had found a way of offering Wi-Fi for free and making money from elsewhere.
“The uniqueness of Moja is found in a business model that monetised people’s abundance of time and subsidises that internet connection with our business customers connecting to our users with some form of digital work,” he said.
In February, BRCK announced it had acquired Kenyan public Wi-Fi provider Surf, making it one of the largest public Wi-Fi networks in Sub-Saharan Africa.