Tizeti, an internet service provider in Nigeria, has launched its first Solar-powered 4G LTE network.
The Y-Combinator backed startup uses solar-powered towers to deliver network connectivity. It has built its premier 4G capable tower in the city of Port Harcourt, where Tizeti will provide its first 4G and ISP services.
The company operates primarily in Lagos, a growing startup ecosystem in Nigeria, and expanded to Ghana this year. Port Harcourt is the fifth largest city in Nigeria located in River State, another commercial hotspot for the country.
According to CEO and co-founder, Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti plans to take its model to additional West African countries in 2020.
“We leverage inexpensive wireless capacity and the plummeting cost of solar panels to create a low capex and opex network of owned and operated towers,” Ananyi said.
“We’re able to offer customers unlimited internet at 30 to 50% the cost of traditional mobile data plans,” he added.
Tizeti unlimited plan is priced at 9,500 Nigerian Naira per month, or around $26. The startup has 1.1 million unique users and packages internet services drawing on partnerships with West African broadband provider, MainOne and Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi.
Ananyi said, commenting on the addressable market for Tizeti after its latest move, “Not everyone’s gonna sign up but we know we have 20 million in Lagos and 1.8 million in Port Harcourt; so even if we get 10%, that it’s a huge number for us.”
As Lagos is both Africa’s largest economy and the population at 200 million, a lot of businesses and tech startups bank on Nigeria’s numbers.
In 2018 Tizeti secured a $3-million Series A round and has built a suite of internet-driven products to capture market share. In addition to ISP services, it launched a Skype-like personal and business enterprise communications service, WiFCall.ng, in April 2019.
Tizeti could improve the connectivity equation in Africa’s key tech hubs, such as Nigeria, where high levels of startup formation and VC investment are still obstructed by weak internet stats.
Though Africa, primarily Sub-Saharan Africa, still placed last in most global rankings for internet penetration (35 percent), the continent continues to register among the fastest connectivity growth in the world. Sub-Saharan Africa countries with the highest number of internet users are Nigeria (123 million), Kenya (46 million), and South Africa (32 million).