They strive to create a world where all people, without exception, can harness the power of the internet to prosper.
That means making data infrastructure as widely available in developing countries as power grids have become. They build affordable networks using TV white space and other radio technologies as well as fibre-optic lines. TV white space refers to a set of frequencies in the wireless spectrum previously used by terrestrial television. The gaps created by the switch to digital broadcasting freed up part of the spectrum and can now be used for broadband internet.
They connect homes and businesses using a proprietary network of towers and fibre lines. They also create public wifi hotspots in hundreds of communities where customers can log in with pay-as-you-go accounts. Furthermore, they create tailor-made digital products, IoT and cloud solutions, developed by an in-house software team working in conjunction with Microsoft. They employ several hundred people and have served more than 180,000 customers.
Mawingu has attracted a string of international investors and supporters. Microsoft put in the first corporate money as a shareholder and publicly champions the company. Satya Nadella, the Microsoft CEO, travelled to northern Kenya for the global launch of Windows 10 and used Mawingu's network to start the roll-out of Microsoft's flagship operating system worldwide. Barack Obama has publicly lauded Mawingu for "providing low-cost broadband" at scale.
They have been a for-profit business since 2014 and continue to expand rapidly.