Netstar and Vodacom to bring free Wi-Fi to taxi commuters

Netstar and Vodacom to bring free Wi-Fi to taxi commuters

Vehicle tracking and telematics company Netstar, in a partnership with Vodacom Business, is launching a free in-taxi connectivity service.

Known as WiTaxi, passengers can access free Wi-Fi on their devices during daily commutes, turning often lengthy travel time productive, with commuters able to get work done and connect with family and friends.

The in-transit connectivity 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.

“SA’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 MD Grant Fraser. Vodacom says this partnership is an extension of its goal to connect the country’s underserved and underbanked population, improving connectivity for all.  

Netstar’s telematics devices installed in Toyota minibus taxis can double up as Wi-Fi routers. These have already been fitted to more than 3,200 taxis across the country and have the potential to connect 48,000 vehicles.

“In exchange for free, high-speed Wi-Fi, commuters just need to watch short, 15-second adverts. This service is completely safe and free to users, who can access as much as 1GB of uninterrupted Wi-Fi per day. This is an untapped, exciting opportunity for SMMEs to generate maximum impact and unlock economic activity by connecting with approximately 15-million people,” says Brian Mdluli, managing director of WiTaxi. 

Commuters connect seamlessly to the free Wi-Fi through the WiTaxi app. 

Vodacom is also looking to introduce a reward system linked to this network through its VodaPay app. This 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,” says William Mzimba, chief officer for Vodacom Business.

When connected, commuters can stream their favourite shows, browse social media and use the time to stay up to date with what’s happening at work. South Africans are increasingly aware of how connected technologies can improve their lives and we must ensure we evolve in tandem with market expectations,” concluded Fraser.

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