The affordability of connectivity and roaming services has dramatically increased in developing countries in the past few years, bringing new social and economic opportunities locally (with over 1% GDP increase per tranches of 10% gain in access to high speed internet at the country level, according to the World Bank). Although, with over 1 billion people in the world remaining off-grid and over 1.7 billion people being unbanked, access to internet in these emerging markets is unfortunately limited to the few capable of affording a mobile phone or a tablet, while also having access to electricity...
Awarded with the Microsoft Airband Initiative Grant in 2017 (formerly known as the Affordable Access Initiative), Solaris Offgrid has been working closely with Microsoft in delivering better access to digital services through an innovative project: the development of a special Android application that helps local companies in developing countries offer smartphones or tablets to the Bottom of the Pyramid users thanks to “pay-as-you-go” (Paygo) mechanisms. It is to say enabling their clients/users can progressively reach full ownership of the device through a staged payment plan, thus benefiting from an access to internet they can afford on a weekly basis.
“Improving energy access and connectivity requires new solutions and innovative thinking, which is why we are so proud to work with Solaris Offgrid on this new PAYGO approach,” said Trevor Genis, Principal Project Manager at Microsoft. “We first began working with them in 2017 and have seen them grow as they refined their market offerings, evolving to the news announced today. We look forward to our ongoing relationship as we grow together.”
To get onboard, interested distributors need only to request that their Android device provider installs the PaygOps programme on the smartphones/tablets prior to order dispatch (this is a common requirement for wholesale transactions). The distributor can then commercialise the device and manage its repayment through PaygOps, a leading lease management system in the off-grid industry. The final user would be required to proceed to a pre-payment for a week (or more) of access, and the device would lock itself automatically once such bundle of time reaches an end, until the full plan has been repaid completely. Thus, by significantly reducing the risks of customer non-payment, this innovative mechanism simplifies digital devices leasing, as part of Paygo offers.
“In the off-grid industry, Paygo enabled solar products contributed to the significant adoption of renewable energies in emerging market over the past 5 years. Applied to Android supported devices, such Paygo technology could represent an essential tool for digital inclusion and access to information to the most excluded.” says Benjamin David, CTO of PaygOps.
About Solaris Offgrid :
Solaris Offgrid supports distributors of essential services to build strong customer traction and greater relations with investors through flexible and inclusive Paygo solutions, designed for last-mile operations. Adopting a bottom up approach in the design of its solutions and creating synergies with a strong network of partners to solve last-mile challenges, the company has already deployed Paygo solutions in more than 30 countries through PaygOps, Solaris Offgrid in-house software solution built “In the Field, for the Field” and its product development services. Leading reference in the off-grid solar market, PaygOps, is engineered to deliver modular and interoperable solutions to address off-grid energy access challenges and distribution complexity. For more information on PaygOps, please contact [email protected].