Photo by Fairphone / Flickr (



Wow, I am online!
Traditional telecommunications companies in South Africa often charge their customers exorbitant overhead costs and unnecessary fees. As a result, many South Africans cannot afford to have a telephone or internet connection.

Tobetsa is a start-up that is committed to disrupting this market and providing free internet in South Africa’s cities. In 2013 their Tshwane Free Wifi pilot project got underway, setting up free WLAN hotspots in the city of Tshwane, a metropolitan municipality that includes Pretoria. The project has set up over 1,000 free internet zones in Tshwane and some 3.5 million people in the municipality now have access to free internet. Tobetsa’s innovative business structure facilitated its cooperation with local internet providers and municipalities, and its business model is replicable, allowing companies to offer free internet in previously underserved regions. Currently Tobetsa is working to develop it services further and is also offering customers free internet telephony and chat services and wifi-based television services.