After Uber was launched, many people in rural Kenya were left in a dilemma since the smart society is concentrated in urban areas. A few months later, Safaricom powered hailing app; Little, was unveiled and Nirobians thought it will have a slow pickup. Anyway, it’s still trying to get people’s attention.
According to GSMA, globally there are now 7.5 billion mobile connections with 3.7 billion unique subscribers. But 10 percent of the Earth’s 7.2 billion people lack access to basic voice and text services, and about a third lack access to 3G or 4G mobile broadband internet. The majority of these uncovered populations live in the rural regions of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, which together account for 3.4 billion of the 4.8 billion people not yet connected to the internet.
Today, Little revamped its services. Users can now access the app through USSD making it available to non-smartphone users.
Through the USSD taxi hailing option, customers will now be able to request for a ride by simply dialing *826# from their mobile phone.
According to Craft Silicon CEO Kamal Budhabhatti, the introduction of USSD will radically change the taxi hailing business by bringing on board millions of Kenyans who were previously locked out due to the fact that they do not own a smartphone.
“The idea behind Little powered by Safaricom is to provide affordable and convenient cab services to as many Kenyans as possible and I believe we are well on our way to achieving this through the launch of the USSD service,” he added.
The move will help many people who live in rural Kenya who have little or no tech knowhow. Essentially, more than three quarters of the population in the country lives in rural areas, and rural households rely on agriculture for most of their income. The rural economy, in turn, depends mainly on smallholder farming. Due to this, most people don’t want to explore whatever the world introduces.
The Little app itself has so far been downloaded more than 23,500 times on IOS, Windows and Android stores, with over 1,400 drivers signed up.
Mr. Budhabhatti added, “We are also committed to our drivers’ welfare. Since our launch, Little takes no more than 15% off drivers’ earnings compared to other players in the market who take between 18% to 25%.”