In recent times, Facebook has doubled down on its mission of connecting the world via internet, with initiatives like Facebook lite and Free Basics, making such connectivity much easier to access in the developing world generally and Nigeria specifically. With regards to Nigeria, Facebook is going a step further with the deployment of ExpressWifi in Lagos in collaboration with Coollink. The service is expected to launch at some point this week, but is already in operation in some parts of Lagos, such as Ikota Shopping Complex.
ExpressWifi by Facebook is a new program that lets phone owners purchase data from local internet service providers. Effectively, Facebook is providing software that helps local ISPs and entrepreneurs sell and provide internet service in rural areas, which can be accessed via public Wi-Fi hotspots. Besides being a source of cheap internet, the program is also designed as a means of empowering entrepreneurs who get the Wifi equipment (including a 1Kva inverter) setup for free and make a 15% commission on each ExpressWifi data plan sale.
Users within Express Wifi coverage are able to browse the sites on Free basics for free, but additional browsing activity is charged. Internet plans on ExpressWifi start at N40 for 100MB daily and go all the way up to N1,600 for a 5GB monthly plan. Each ExpressWifi point is served by a 10Mbps connection which is shared across all the users. Not at all shabby.
Word on the street is that the service, will be deployed across the country eventually, as soon as the first phase which is centred around Lagos is completed.
Nigeria will be the second location where ExpressWifi by Facebook is being deployed, following the deployment in India last month.
Here’s a table of all the data plans currently available on the ExpressWifi by Facebook service and their costs.
You can sign up for a 14 day free trial if you’re within a coverage area here.