In what is said to be another global first, Kenya’s leading communications services provider Safaricom Ltd has partnered with (Public Service Vehicles) PSV operators in an initiative that will see passengers access free internet in more than 200 matatu’s and buses by September this year.
In March 2007, Safaricom pioneered commercial mobile money transfer globally through M-PESA, the most successful such service anywhere in the world.
A total of 46 PSV vehicles plying the Buruburu, Langata, Rongai, Umoja, Githurai, Dandora, Kenyatta University, Kiambu, and the Nairobi- Mombasa routes have already been fitted with subsidised Wi-Fi routers in the Kshs.7 million initiative which is part of the Telco’s on-going effort to grow its data footprint.
The move comes as a relief to commuters who often “waste” time in traffic jams, as they can now connect to the internet. Customers will get the opportunity to remain connected to unlimited 3G internet without having to use their existing bundles.
Speaking during the launch, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore hailed the partnership with the PSV sector noting that the move to provide “mobile internet” was a perfect example of products and services adapting to suit consumers’ lifestyles.
“Most of our customers use Matatu’s and buses as their preferred mode of transport on a day to day basis. This therefore presents us with a fantastic opportunity to drive home the internet story and make it a way of life among our customers which we believe we will achieve by availing FREE Wi-Fi internet in matatus,” said Collymore.
“ With over 300,000 Kenyans using public transport every day, we believe having Wi-Fi in PSV’s will go a long way in making our passengers commute worthwhile.” Matatu Owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai Said during the launch.
Currently, Safaricom has 2.3 million 3G phones on the network. with this new service the company expects greater demand for such phones.