World Mobile launches commercial telecom network in Zanzibar to bridge the digital divide in Africa
World Mobile, a mobile network that has been instrumental in narrowing the digital divide in Africa, today announced the successful launch of its commercial telecom network in Zanzibar. This network is not only providing accessible mobile data services to those previously unconnected but also stands out with its significantly lower cost, boasting a 50% reduction compared to the national average.
Despite some advancements in Sub-Saharan Africa, there remains a significant gender gap in mobile internet usage, with a notable 37% disparity between men and women. This unequal access to information has a disproportionate impact on women and girls, reinforcing and perpetuating existing social and economic inequalities. That’s why World Mobile has been at the forefront of not only providing a reliable commercial network but also addressing gender inequality in internet access.
Using its blockchain-based network, World Mobile users can share rewards and also explore the top-earning AirNodes through the updated network explorer called WMTScan. World Mobile also offers an Android app that streamlines data bundle management, delivers valuable services, and establishes a self-sovereign identifier for users.
“Today marks a significant milestone for World Mobile as we proudly announce the successful commercial transition of our network in Zanzibar. We are thrilled to welcome our first paying customers and embark on a journey to connect the unconnected, empowering individuals across Africa and beyond,” World Mobile CEO Micky Watkins said in a statement.
Since transitioning to a commercial model, World Mobile has made major updates to its network explorer, WMTScan. The new version of WMTScan now provides reports on the highest-earning AirNodes, showcasing World Mobile’s dedication to fostering a transparent sharing economy.
The demand for World Mobile’s affordable mobile data service in Zanzibar has been remarkable over the years. The startup has been witnessing an impressive influx of 1,000 new customers per week, with a peak daily user count of 16,000 in May 2023. These numbers are particularly noteworthy for the Tanzanian archipelago, considering its population is around 1.8 million.
World Mobile told TechStartups that its proof of concept network was initially launched as a subsidized and experimental service, accessible through World Mobile’s network of AirNodes. This test service was introduced in a semi-autonomous territory that faced limitations with existing providers, thus making it an ideal location to pilot World Mobile’s hybrid connectivity network.
Today, the level of internet penetration in Tanzania currently stands at approximately 46%, with access predominantly concentrated in urban areas. These challenges have significant economic implications, as businesses struggle to fully participate in the digital economy.
World Mobile aims to address this issue, which has garnered the attention of tech giants like Google and Facebook. Their approach begins with establishing a sharing economy that will generate funds for deploying telecommunications infrastructure not only in rural Africa but also in other regions. By doing so, World Mobile’s solution offers connectivity at a significantly lower cost compared to traditional mobile network operators.
World Mobile told TechStartups that its proof of concept network was initially deployed as a subsidized, test service available across World Mobile’s network of AirNodes. The semi-autonomous territory was chosen to pilot World Mobile’s hybrid connectivity network due to the limitations of extant providers. Internet penetration in Tanzania stands at around 46%, with access concentrated mainly in urban areas. These challenges have negative economic implications, as businesses struggle to participate fully in the digital economy.
World Mobile aims to succeed in solving a problem that has attracted the attention of tech giants such as Google and Facebook, starting with building a sharing economy that will fund the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure in rural Africa and beyond. World Mobile’s solution provides connectivity at a cost multiple lower than traditional mobile network operators.
World Mobile was founded by Micky Watkins with an ambitious vision to ensure global connectivity for all, emphasizing economic freedom and dignity. Unlike conventional mobile networks, World Mobile operates on the principles of blockchain technology and the sharing economy. This innovative approach enables local business owners in disconnected areas to set up cost-effective nodes within the network, enabling their communities to come online and mutually benefit from the rewards generated through participation.