Google ditches its free WiFi service in South Africa – three months after launch

Business Insider SA
Google Station
Google Station
  • Search engine giant Google has abandoned its free Wifi service in South Africa. 
  • The free Wifi service is online in 125 locations across Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Delft, Elsies River, and Philippi, in Cape Town.
  • It will wind down the service this year and hand over operations to its partner Think WiFi.
  • Visit Business Insider SA's homepage for more stories.

Search engine giant Google will not continue with its free Wifi offering “Google Station” - a mere 3 months after its launch. 

The free Wifi service went online in 125 locations across Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Delft, Elsies River, and Philippi, in Cape Town in November last year, reported ITWeb.

It forms part of Googles’ grand global initiative to offer fast, free, open access internet to people affected by high unemployment and crime rates in countries like Mexico, India and the Philippines.

 “In line with Google’s mission, we started Google Station in India in 2016 to help connect people online. We’re humbled that our work has been able to help millions of people experience the power of the internet for the first time,” said a spokesperson.

But Google won't continue its service in South Africa - and will hand over operations to its partner Think WiFi through 2020.

“We are transferring our Station operations in South Africa to Think WiFi who will now carry out the project independently,” a spokesperson told Business Insider SA.

While Google didn't given an exact reason for its decision, it said that it had to re-evaluate its plans due to "recomplex and varying technical requirements across countries and partners".

“We'll work with Think Wifi on a plan to transition the service to them, and continue to support them until the end of 2020. We remain committed to looking for ways to make the internet more accessible to users around the world.”

Think WiFi said it would continue the service in “exactly the same way users have become accustomed to”, in a statement to TechCentral. 

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