Able wireless has gone live with a pilot for home internet in Ruaraka, Nairobi. The startup that has had a tough time getting into the market after previous hurdles with regulation takes on the big boys. The Kenyan startup took many months to get their hardware-based product type approved by the Communications Authority that by the time they got the approval, they were already burnt out.
They took a break and for the last few months were setting up for roll-out. The solution they sell includes a Raspberry Pi powered TV box and an internet connection. Set up for this is Kshs 2500 and monthly payments are Kshs 500 for an internet connection and media content streaming.
This is huge!
In a market where such solutions are only provided by the big players like Zuku, Jamii Telecom, Liquid telecom and Safaricom, Able Wireless is seen as a saviour. Zuku offers internet, cable tv and telephone in a triple play offering while Jamii telecom offers internet and recently introduced an Android box. Liquid Telecom also has pilots for home internet and a TV box. Safaricom which isn’t yet defined in the home internet space also sells an Android Set Top box that did not do well due to bad product design.
Able Wireless is unique due to pricing while at the same time giving great speeds. A source we spoke to tells us that they chose to roll-out in Ruaraka as opposed to other affluent estates like has been the norm because they don’t target the rich. They are a mass market product for those who are yet to be served.
The source also added that Able Wireless which is headquartered in Ruaraka already has over 1000 customers at the time of going live today. The users are said to be streaming Netflix and other video content with no complaints whatsoever and this is at just a third of the capacity that Able Wireless has. The current challenge the startup has is dealing with demand which is growing quite fast due to the pricing versus value of their product.
The product which is an internet connection and a TV box streams content by initially buffering and once a user starts viewing content there is no buffering again as it loads the other content in the background once the viewer starts playing. We have reached out to Able Wireless team and should get back to you with more updates when we get them.