In Kenya, Wi-Fi connection first crept into expats’ homes and offices. Then, last year from the start of October, it became possible for businessmen to eatout at five star joints while enjoying free Wi-Fi connection thanks to an initiative EatOut Kenya, Google and Wazi WiFi had just rolled out. Today – a year later, matatus have joined the trend drawing the common mwananchi to their public means of transport with the help of Wi-Fi stickers and connections.
According to reports, the matatus’ switch to Wi-Fi connections has this time began its process of drawing at least a third of the common mwananchi to enjoy their free internet services as they endure their three quarter hour drive to and from the CBD thanks to traffic jam.
While a number of matatu’s have taken advantage of this opportunity to draw more customers by merely placing ‘fake’ Wi-Fi sticker labels fooling passengers to enjoy free internet, reports note that more than 1,000 matatus in the city are now equipped with free Wi-Fi connection for commuters. Quite a number of matatus are now using the Vuma Online service launched in April 2013 by Kenya’s biggest telecom company, Safaricom, reports say.
In some experiences, many commuters with smart phones, tablets or laptops have been attracted by the sticker labels only to risk discovering whether the matatu’s they board genuinely offer the service or use the stickers as a marketing gimmick.
For those lucky to enjoy the free internet, waiting and flocking to the public means of transport each day has become inevitable. The new Wi-Fi trend means more business opportunities and a boost in the matatu industry, who would no longer be using hyped music systems, lowered fares, but would be using Wi-Fi which rather affordable to install in matatus in many occasions.
In one of the companies that install internet, an attendant offering the Wi-Fi service informed the media that they install 3G routers for free in matatus, with owners left to decide which bundle suits them. That would in turn cost them at least Sh1, 000, of which would likely to draw more passengers to their means of transport allowing all, whether rich or poor to enjoy free Wi-Fi internet connection.