Free WiFi available in Toyota minibus taxis

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 04 Apr 2023

Vehicle tracking and telematics company Netstar has signed a partnership deal with Vodacom Business and in-transit connectivity solutions provider WiTaxi, to offer local taxi commuters a free in-taxi WiFi service.

Through the partnership, passengers can access the free WiTaxi service from their personal devices during their daily commutes.

According to a statement, the Altron subsidiary’s telematics devices installed in Toyota minibus taxis can double up as WiFi routers. These devices have already been fitted into more than 3 200 taxis across the country, and have the potential to reach 48 000 connected taxis.

Vodacom says bringing about the “taxi of the future” is an extension of its goal to connect the under-served and under-banked population of SA, as a crucial step towards closing the digital divide and empowering more South Africans through digital technology.

“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 the connected commute is going to be a game-changer for South African taxi passengers, drivers and even operators.”

With the technology infrastructure already in place to support connectivity, commuters connect seamlessly to the free WiFi through the WiTaxi app, says Vodacom.

This service offers users up to 1GB of uninterrupted WiFi per day.

The partnership between Toyota, Altron and Vodacom stems from 2019, when Toyota South Africa announced a collaboration with the companies, to introduce Toyota Connect, a cloud-based internet-connected intelligence platform aimed at providing in-mobility WiFi services to new Toyota vehicles.

“In exchange for free high-speed WiFi, 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,” says Brian Mdluli, MD of WiTaxi.

“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.”

In line with its purpose of connecting for good, Vodacom says it is looking to introduce a reward system linked to this network through its VodaPay super app.

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