Start Internet Service Provision Business in Kenya
Who is an internet service provider?
An internet service provider is a company that lets you access the internet at your home or office with a monthly subscription. Think of it like DSTV or GoTv instead of providing you with TV channels, you get connected to the internet.
There is no job rewarding like becoming an ISP in Kenya. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, many people are losing their jobs and it’s high time to invest and grow yourself.
Becoming an ISP provider gives you the opportunity to become self-employed and better your state. To become an ISP you will need dedication, hard work, good customer support, and within no time you will be rich.
To start your own internet service provision business, there is an option of starting small and grow with the demand or you can choose to start big (I advise the former). When we started this business 6 years ago as a side hustle, we knew nothing about what it takes to become an ISP but we were ready to learn, determined, and had a vision of growth. At the moment we have over 400 clients and the rewards are far much better than being employed.
To start this business you need to do market research, plan out where the base stations will be (these are places where your clients will be getting connected from). This spot needs to be on high buildings and with a large coverage so as to maximize on profit. We then advise on investing in good quality equipment for long term benefits. Maintain your setup to keep your service stable and expand it over time.
Why Start an Internet Service Provision Business
- Avoid being employed and become your own boss
- It’s a lucrative business. Allow me to share an example, if you have 50 customers each paying an average of Ksh 2,500, after deducting the expenses you will be making a profit of about 63,500.
- The home internet demand is getting higher. Since COVID 19 started, more businesses and companies switched to working from home. This makes having an wireless home internet a must have.
- Room for growth. By becoming an internet service provider, you can grow as big as you can dream. Your own limit is you.
- Easy to manage. This business model is less demanding when it comes to management.
- Diversity. You have room to start offering related services like home security thus increasing your revenue stream.
Steps to become an ISP in Kenya
- Evaluate the area
- Finding ideal base stations
- Install access points
- Start installation process
- Buy equipment
How to start an internet service provision business in Kenya, step by step
To begin, the following are requirements for starting the business? Below are steps on how to start an internet service provision company in Kenya.
1: Evaluate the Area
Before spending any money on infrastructure, first and foremost make sure you have picked a nice area meeting certain criteria to maximize profit, reduce starting capital, and increase clients’ connections. Don’t buy any types of equipment yet until you evaluate the following characteristics that we recommend:
- Population Density – Towns tend to be an ideal starting point for wireless internet service provision. You can connect businesses, apartments, and single homes with ease. You will also require fewer access points unlike starting in rural areas. Also, worth mentioning towns will give you much more profits due to the population. Note that in town you have to make sure your access points are high enough to see as many rooftops as possible in a range of up to 10km. Each access point can hold clients up to 25 so the more houses you see the better.
- House Design – Apartments with a flat rooftop are easy to connect internet and it means you can use one strong equipment to connect multiple clients. Some houses have steep roofs making them risky to climb and also many clients dislike their rooftops being stepped on. We recommend you carefully plan how you’ll do the installation for your new clients. Every installation has its challenges making it a good learning experience. Take your time and have a look at the house design in your area of interest and make sure to take all necessary precautions. If you are scared of heights, hire an experienced technician to do the work.
- Neighborhood – Connecting estates and apartments can bring in more clients and save on cash.
- Market Competition – Competition is healthy for any business to thrive and it makes sure customers get the best service. If people in your area have already been connected, their monthly charges are low, and are happy with their ISP then think twice because it might be hard to close dals. Do market research, engage some friends and neighbors, ask for challenges customers are facing with their current ISP, ask if they are willing to switch the provider. From what you have gathered come up with your selling points and package list to meet their needs.
2: Find a tall building to be your base station.
In every town, there must be the tallest building that stands out. You can start here and inquire if the building is fiber ready (this is vital) The ideal spot for your base station will be the topmost floor of the building. We recommend setting up on tall buildings so that your equipment signals travel far making it easier to connect many clients.
- Look for fiber ready buildings in your area and ask to rent space at the rooftop or last floor for your equipment. If the building has multiple fiber options then the better since you can use the other one as backup.
- To find out if the building is fiber ready, you can search for fiber optic internet providers in your area. Ask if their fiber reaches your desired building. Also, speak with the owner of the building or caretaker for agreement and information purposes.
- If your desired building is not fiber ready it is advisable to look for another building because getting the building connected via fiber will be very expensive to install. You are better off finding a building that already has a good fiber connection.
3: Find other high spots to install Access Points.
These high areas are key for relaying your internet signal from the base station to your customers. This can be tall apartments, hills, tall buildings, and even some homes that can be a perfect spot.
You will need to walk around and search for ideal spots.
- You will need a clear line of sight from your access point to your client’s home. These will guarantee good signal strength and uninterrupted internet connection. Avoid obstacles like trees, hills, or other tall buildings along the way since they can block the signal from reaching your customers.
- Target on connecting about 25 customers from each access point, as you close more deals you can add access point. You will lose money if your access points are in areas with fewer homes or with a limited line of sight. This is the major reason established internet providers focus on town centers and avoid rural areas.
4: Start Internet Installation Process
Once the setup is complete you need to do a site survey to see if it is possible to connect the customer. Before installation, you will need to know the type of equipment needed in order to install internet and carry the necessary tools for installation: They include
- Outdoor equipment (Litebeam, Powerbeam)
- Wireless router
- Cat 6 cable
- RJ 45s
- Laptop (for configuration purposes)
- Other requirements include but not limited to clips, still nails, pole, larder, reflector jacket, safety boots, helmet, and a harmer.
After the first installation is completed you will need to explain the basic principles of networking to your customer. This includes:
- For the internet to work the router and outdoor equipment needs to be on.
- The cables should not be interfered with.
- The customer should not reset the router at any given time .
- Should restart the equipment at least once a week.
- In case of any issue or assistance, the customer should not hesitate to call.
Recommended Hardware Equipments for ISPs
For Access Points (all are Ubiquiti products)
This varies with terrain, bandwidth, and distance from base station to clients.
- Sector M5
- Omni M5
- Powerbeam M5
- Litebeam M5 / Nanostation M5 / Powerbeam
- Wireless router
Starting Capital Breakdown
The following is an estimate of the cash required to start an internet service provision business in Kenya. The budget is for starting the basic setup and connecting 15 clients. It is important to note that the amount stated below should not hinder you from starting the business. You can start with a lower amount, another good option is to start selling internet to neighbors.
- The amount above is inclusive of the equipment needed, work tools, business name registration, internet, office rent, and other minor expenses.
- After installing the internet for the first 15 clients, the income is slightly above 100,000/=. You can use the money to install internet to another 10 clients. If you plan to charge 2,000 per client that means after a month you will have 25 clients and a monthly income of 50,000/=
Internet Service Provider Profit Margin Estimate in Kenya
Below is a detailed estimate of how much you can earn as a wireless internet service provider. We have broken it down into 3 stages with different clientele and monthly packages. With hard work and persistence, you can earn hundreds of thousands when you scale up selling wireless internet in Kenya. It’s a business with good returns and a promising future.
The figures are an estimate, slight variation is expected. The expenses include but not limited to:
- Technical support team
- Fiber internet bulk purchase
- Medium office space
- Base station fees
- Electricity and miscellaneous expenses.
Hope this article of becoming an internet service provider has been of help to you. You can start today, be your own boss, and create employment. It’s not that hard to start and its less demanding, get started and start making money.
For feedback please comment below or reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.