Towards a sustainable business model for rural telephony
Siya, Masbulele Jay
Bidwell, Nicola J.
Tucker, William David
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This paper presents the work done thus far towards designing a sustainable business model for rural telephony in the community of Mankosi, located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The pillars of the model are sustainability and community ownership to design both the wireless mesh network providing the telephony service and its business model. Given the airtime consumption pattern in the community, the model is based only on the provision of calls inside the community and for using solar power to charge mobile phones. Some scenarios with different usage of the telephony services and different pricing rates are explored in order to find the break even point of the network, or in case the CAPEX was provided externally, to calculate the revenues expected. These revenues could be used for projects that benefit the community at large. Although the project is in its initial phase and the community has some particularities that make it unique, the sustainable business model presented here is intended to showcase innovative ideas that could serve similar projects in other parts of the world.