Plan to roll out free WiFi in taxis on the horizon

Vehicle tracking and telematics company Netstar has partnered with Vodacom Business for the use of free taxi WiFi called WiTaxi.

Taxi commuters will be able to access WiFi from their devices while they are in a taxi.

The connectivity will also address 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.

For Vodacom, the partnership is also a crucial step towards closing the digital divide and empowering more South Africans through digital technology.

Netstar’s telematics devices have been installed in Toyota minibus taxis and can double up as WiFi routers.

These devices have already been fitted to more than 3 200 taxis across the country, and have the potential to reach 48 000 connected taxis.

Brian Mdluli, MD for WiTaxi, said: “In exchange for free high-speed WiFi, commuters just need to watch short, 15-second adverts.

“This is an untapped, exciting opportunity for SMMEs [small, micro and medium enterprises] to generate maximum impact and unlock economic activity by connecting with approximately 15-million people.”

Commuters will be able to stream their favourite shows, browse social media, and use the time to stay up to date with what is happening around them and at work.

Netstar Group MD Grant Fraser said South Africa’s taxi industry is responsible for more than 60% of daily commuters. This is an integral part of the country’s transport sector and a significant economic player.

“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,” said Fraser.

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

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