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Netstar, Vodacom Business offer South African commuters free Wi-Fi

By , ITWeb
Africa , 05 Apr 2023

Vehicle tracking company Netstar has partnered with Vodacom Business to offer taxi commuters across South Africa a free in-taxi connectivity service, WiTaxi.

Through this partnership, passengers can access free Wi-Fi from their personal devices during their daily commutes, a service the companies say also addresses safety concerns for taxi owners, drivers, and commuters, ‘mitigating risk, as the platform can assist in mapping road hazards such as potholes, traffic and accidents’.

In a statement, Netstar says its telematics devices installed in Toyota minibus taxis will double up as Wi-Fi routers and these devices have already been fitted to more than 3 200 taxis across the country, with the potential to reach 48 000 connected taxis.

“South Africa’s taxi industry is responsible for more than 60% of daily commutes, making it an integral part of the country’s transport sector and a significant economic player,” says Netstar Group managing director Grant Fraser.

“We are truly excited about this partnership with WiTaxi and Vodacom and believe that the connected commute is going to be a game changer for South African taxi passengers, drivers and even operators.”

He adds: “The technology allows commuters, drivers and operators access to a myriad of convenience, connectivity, and safety benefits. Internet connectivity has become an essential need for economic, social, cultural, political, and civic participation in the digital age. South Africans are increasingly aware of how connected technologies can improve their lives, and we must ensure that we evolve in tandem with market expectations.”

William Mzimba, chief officer for Vodacom Business, says, “This partnership speaks to how Vodacom Business can empower people through technology solutions that drive progress and inspire innovation.”

Vodacom is also looking to introduce a reward system linked to this network through its super app, VodaPay. This, it says, will allow commuters to access ‘a rich network of content’, ‘help simplify their lives through cashless transactions’, and let them ‘complete daily chores, while being rewarded for it’.

“Leveraging connectivity to create new revenue streams for entrepreneurs, taxi drivers and fleet owners at a time when business owners are looking to turn problems into new possibilities is how we take the industry and country further together,” Mzimba adds.

Brian Mdluli, managing director, WiTaxi, says: “In exchange for free high-speed Wi-Fi, commuters just need to watch short, 15-second adverts. This is an untapped, exciting opportunity for SMMEs to generate maximum impact and unlock economic activity by connecting with approximately 15-million people.” 

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