Making money: WISP revenue options


A new, quantified revenue model for wireless ISP’s.

The recent growth of fibre networks and accelerated service deployment in secondary towns poses a genuine business risk for the established wireless ISP’s (WISP’s) which until now have been the sole service providers in these market segments.

Broadband over fibre is an attractive service option and with the new “direct-to-market” models deployed by the fibre network operators, there are limited survival options left for established community service providers.

An innovative alternative is the new generation of Smart Satellite Services – in particular, those options created by services such as the Twoobii Smart Satellite Service.

Here, we provide quantified revenue models to support our case and outline alternatives that merit further consideration.

Can Satellite Match Wireless ISP’s?

Before we get excited about potential new revenue streams, we should take a step back and verify that the business of satellite is aligned with the business of wireless internet service provision.

Happily, the answer is yes.

For all the following reasons, wireless ISP’s can very readily adopt satellite services.

Teams & Equipment: Firstly, WISP teams and delivery are perfectly aligned.

WISP’s have well-equipped field installation teams with a sound knowledge of RF installations and experience in field engineering work.

In many cases, they are already completing VSAT installations for other third-party providers, so teams and equipment are in place and ready to take on new satellite business.

Marketing & Sales: WISP’s tend to be entrenched businesses with marketing and sales messaging that’s targeted to local audiences, including through WOM (peer-to-peer marketing) and regional media.

These campaigns speak to the specific users, and again, this messaging is closely aligned to the focused, specialised messaging required to promote satellite services.

Hand-picked Customers: Customer engagement, sign-up and provisioning is often a high-touch process involving one-on-one discussions to outline the benefits of onsite Wi-Fi, telephony and to understand specific user requirements.

WISP’s are highly skilled in meeting these more niche requirements and adapting their service offerings to meet specific user requirements.

This is exactly what is needed when selling the benefits of the latest Twoobii Smart Satellite Services.


Yes, but…

While there are possibly a number of reasons WISP’s could cite for not considering satellite as a new revenue option, we will only address two of the most frequently discussed here – one internal and one external.

It didn’t work: Many WISP’s have historical experience with satellite services but were left disappointed by poor support from their upstream providers and poor customer service.

That was then; this is now, and the good news is that we have addressed this issue.

Satellite service delivery does indeed require different first-tier service provider expertise and an operational approach that differs from a mass-market, one size fits all model.

Twoobii enjoys the backing of Q-KON as its third-level engineering team.

This is just one of the reasons why we refer to Twoobii as the first Smart Satellite Service. Twoobii may not be your cheapest option, but it will work, and it will meet your customers’ expectations.

I can’t control it: The second possible argument against considering satellite as a revenue option is an internal one; namely, that WISP’s prefer to do the magic on a Microtik (or other core router).

In other words, their preferred approach to service delivery, service provisioning and quality-of-service is very hands-on – exactly what is required and preferred when you operate your own wireless network.

Unfortunately, this is one aspect of service delivery where Twoobii can’t help.

The upside, however, is that with Twoobii as your third-level engineering team, you can scale and add as many sites as your region requires without running out of support resources.

The best way to ensure we deliver the service you have been promised is to use the remote monitoring access we provide to validate your service delivery.

Show Me the Money

Different first-tier providers offer different commercial models; for example, the Twoobii model was developed to engage with various partners and establish a national niche service delivery capability.

For this reason, we offer various revenue options to our service partners, agents and resellers.

To quantify the revenue opportunities, we will always consider rollout of an 8 Pro-20 20Mbps / 3Mbps & 200GB uncapped service at R2,949, as an example.

Service Partners: Service partners are required to sign-up only to complete installations for Twoobii or other third-party providers and can typically earn R2,750 per installation; that is, up to R22,000 per month (R264,000 per annum) in additional revenue using their existing teams and infrastructure.

Agents: Agents secure new customers as well as providing field installation services.

They earn a once-off fee equal to the first month’s customer service charge as well as payment for the field installation work, totalling some R45,592 per month (R547,104 per annum) in additional income.

Resellers: Resellers can secure and own their customers; this would typically be the role that most WISP’s could adopt.

Resellers earn revenue from installations, plus the sign-up fee and a monthly discount on the service charge.

Based on our example of 8 pro-20 services rolled out per month over a 12-month period, WISP’s can earn some R2.4M in additional revenue per annum.


There is an old adage that states that “as one door closes, another opens”.

While satellite might not be able to replace all the current WISP revenue streams, it certainly offers an attractive, low-investment option that might just be too good – and too lucrative – to be ignored.

That’s especially true when you bear in mind that the imminent unfolding of the LEO, MEO and GEO next-gen satellite markets will create a R1B annual market in South Africa alone.

Article supplied by: Dr Dawie de Wet (Pr. Eng. M.Sc. Eng.) – Group CEO of Q-KON and Chief Engineer for Twoobii, a southern African supported satellite broadband service.

With over 30 years’ experience in designing, engineering, developing and implementing wireless, microwave and satellite communication systems in Africa, Dawie continues to focus on developing Telco solutions that meet the user requirements of emerging markets through class-leading technology.

Source: MyBroadband

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