Wananchi

Sector:

Wananchi is the most dynamic and innovative communication and entertainment companies in Eastern Africa in recent times.

The Company was co-founded in 1999 by several investors led by (the late) Mr. James Gachui, and Ms. Njeri Rionge, who served as the first CEO.

As one of the pioneer ISPs in Kenya, it was then called Wananchi Online and offered internet service through dial-up and leased line, while also offering email and web design services.

Company grew over the next decade and established itself as a provider of affordable but reliable internet service to the masses, at a price considered ridiculously low at that time, it grew market share remarkably fast.

Wananchi’s corporate division, which operates under the ‘SimbaNET’ brand, is a leading provider of VSAT and data solutions to corporations in greater East Africa.

This made it attractive for acquisition due to it’s infrastructure and substantially increasing customer base.

It was subsequently acquired by the ATMT (Africa Telecom, Media and Technology) Fund through a regional venture capital fund manager, the East Africa Capital Partners (EACP), and between 2006 and 2008 Wananchi has undergone more or less a complete transformation.

There were strategic upgrading of its talent pool as well as a major Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) effort, where Wananchi absorbed various companies such as:

  • ISP Kenya – an Internet Service Provider
  • MitsumiNet Cable Vision – a cable television company
  • SimbaNet – a corporate provider of internet services, in Kenya and Tanzania
  • Lion Cable Television Network Ltd.- a cable television company; Especially for their KPLC pole attachment licence
  • Wananchi presently serves the retail and corporate markets in Kenya and Tanzania through its consumer and corporate divisions.

    Wananchi’s consumer division operates under the ZUKU brand and provides cable television and broadband Internet services to residential customers in Kenya using a combination of Hybrid-Fiber-Coaxial (HFC) Network and WiMax technologies.

    Wananchi’s corporate division, which operates under the SIMBANET brand, is a leading provider of Internet and Virtual Private Network services to corporations, local government and non-governmental organizations in Kenya and Tanzania using a combination of Metro-Fiber, WiMax and VSAT technologies.

    Company living up to it’s innovative and pioneer reputation by becoming the first Triple Play provider in Africa. Rolled out new HFC (Hybrid Fiber Coaxial) and GPON networks that offers Broadband Internet, Cable TV, and IP Telephony.

    Company also launched DTH (Direct to Home) Satellite Pay-TV service in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Malawi.

    Summary

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