Innovation That Matters

Sharing economy comes to Wi-Fi


Australian startup allows users to sell on their extra Wi-Fi data.

In the last few years we have seen a steady growth of sharing economy innovations. There’s the startup that lets users offer their homes to those scouting for films locations, and this currency exchange idea which offers a way for travellers to exchange their unwanted currency. Now, a new organization is trying to apply the model to Wi-fi networks: enter Velvet.

Launched in September 2016, the Australia-based company trialled a new service to allow homes to sell their extra Wi-Fi data to those who wanted it. The startup offered a device which sat on top of a normal router and created a network that other users could log into. Owners could decide how much data they wanted to share, receiving real-time updates on how much they had already shared, and how much money they made from it. For every GB that got used on the Velvet network, the company paid USD 3.36 to its customers, claiming to provide them with “a passive income”. According to the business itself, consumers appreciated the access without complex, long and binding contracts. Unfortunately the Wi-Fi sharing service ended in the same year because of funding and technical issues, however the company hopes to re-launch with additional value in the near future. This service was dubbed as the ‘Uber for telcos’. Could this idea be adopted by mobile phone service providers?



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