Free Wi-Fi in all SA taxis coming soon!
Already in its infancy, a venture by Vodacom, WiTaxi and Netstar aims to bring free Wi-Fi to all taxis in SA. Free Wi-Fi in taxis is not such an outlandish concept when you think about it. In Europe, public transport with free Wi-Fi is commonplace. In South Africa, more than 70% of all South Africans […]
Already in its infancy, a venture by Vodacom, WiTaxi and Netstar aims to bring free Wi-Fi to all taxis in SA.
Free Wi-Fi in taxis is not such an outlandish concept when you think about it.
In Europe, public transport with free Wi-Fi is commonplace.
In South Africa, more than 70% of all South Africans use minibus taxis to commute to and from work, school and university.
Love them or loath them, minibus taxis are an integral part of the fabric of South African society, providing more than 18 million daily commuter trips countrywide.
These trips last anything between 15 minutes to one hour.
Why shouldn’t there be free Wi-Fi in taxis for commuters to stay connected?
FREE WI-FI IN TAXIS: WHO’S MAKING IT HAPPEN?
The best ideas are often simple ones, and this looks like a slam-dunk. The prospect of wholesale free Wi-Fi in taxis is the brainchild of Vodacom, Netstar and WiTaxi, reports Stuff.
The former provides the network, Netstar supplies the hardware – through trackers that double as routers for the taxis – and a company called WiTaxi offers the software, the app that ties it all together.
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It’s been an 11-year journey from the start for WiTaxi, and there are already 4 000 minibus taxis with free Wi-Fi.
“However, this partnership speaks to how Vodacom Business can empower people through technology solutions that drive progress and inspire innovation,” Vodacom Business CEO, William Mzimba, said at the project announcement earlier in the year.
FREE WI-FI IN TAXIS: HOW WILL IT WORK?
While it will be free, like any good thing, it won’t be unlimited. According to WiTaxi, after you’re signed up, there will be occasional 15-second ads to unlock access to the service. From there, there’s a 1GB/day limit per device.
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Vodacom says it wants to give something back through this service and is looking to introduce a rewards system for customers that use the free Wi-Fi regularly. It’s not clear what form this will take, but it says it, “Will help simplify their lives through cashless transactions to let them complete daily chores, and offer a rewards system for it.”
FREE WI-FI. WHEN WILL IT BE EVERYWHERE?
“The project started as early as 2012 and we have walked this 11-year journey to bring free connectivity to the taxi industry. We have over 48 000 taxis that have been installed with a Wi-Fi hot box and the ones that are on the road at the moment are just over 4 000 that have been activated and we activate over 150 of these taxis on a daily basis,” said the managing director for WiTaxi, Brian Mduli.
IS THERE ANOTHER PROVIDER?
It just so happens there is. It’s called Sebenza, and like Vodacom, Netstar, WiTaxi offering, commuters can earn ‘Sebenza bucks’ through the completion of a series of tasks – like consumer surveys, watching ads, etc. These bucks purchase access to the free Wi-Fi on board.
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According to head of communications, Mayihlome Tshwete, the platform is already available in over 2 000 taxis across the country in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo, and they are hoping to reach thousands more.
This is a good thing. Competition breeds progress.
Let us know your thoughts on free Wi-Fi in taxis the comments section.