The local startup making WiFi available in taxis

  • Sebenza Wi-Fi is a local startup that has partnered with SANTACO in order to address connectivity on South African taxis.
  • The startup leverages edge connectivity to assist taxi operators to differentiate themselves, as well as offer passengers with internet access.
  • Sebenza has routes for taxis in all nine provinces, and has to date made 200 terabytes of data available to passengers.

South African minibus taxis are the go-to method of transport for people across the country heading to and from work and school everyday. The sheer volume of commuters presents a significant opportunity when it comes to addressing connectivity, which is something local startup Sebenza Wi-Fi has been tackling for a few years now.

The startup, which also operates as an advertising agency, has been leveraging the capabilities of edge connectivity in order to significantly improve the way passengers commute each day from an internet access perspective.

While WiFi in taxis is not a new concept locally, Sebenza has highlighted the fact that its offering is better due to the several industry-focused relationships it has cultivated over the years.

In particular, Sebenza has been partnering with the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) in order to increase its network to span taxi routes spanning all nine provinces.

“Despite legacy issues of taxi WiFi offerings having not met expectations in the past, we’ve  worked with our users to create a successful user-centric solution, with 500 buses and 7 000 taxis nationwide,” noted Calvin Le Mottée, co-founder at Sebenza, in a release shared with Hypertext.

The startup adds that it has assisted in making some 200 terabytes of mobile data available to passengers in taxis signed up with Sebenza since its inception, which is quite an impressive figure.

This equates to an estimated R90 million in value, the startup explained.

“The user trends of their platform shows the stark need for such a service – after payday and when grants are paid, the usage drops between 15% to 30% – as users top up their sim cards, but it only takes about a week for the usage to increase and stabilise for the rest of the month. This shows that the mobile data commuters can afford only a small portion of what they really need,” added says Fentse, a taxi driver in Kagiso, who unpacked his experience with the startup’s offering.

Commuters are urged to look out for the “free Wi-Fi Sebenza” stickers next time they are at a taxi rank and want to travel.

In order to connect, users need to find Sebenza option in their WiFi settings when traveling in a taxi. Once selected, they will be directed to the platform’s home page here in order to register using a cellphone number.

“Connecting to Sebenza is completely safe and secure; it is encrypted to ensure that users’ data remains secure and private,” the startup pointed out.

“Sebenza is not just about free WiFi – the digital platform offers in-platform entertainment and educational content, such as news articles, horoscopes, and various skills development short courses aimed at tweens and covering financial literacy. Access to further browsing is done through ‘SebenzaBucks’, earned through incentivised content such as brand advertising videos and surveys on the platform,” it outlined.

At the moment the startup is running a campaign called “Khomba, Khonnecta, Sebenza”, and is giving out cash prizes to the total value of R72 000 to newly registered users on the platform. This campaign is running until the end of June 2024.

[Image – Photo by Musa Dhlamini on Unsplash]


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