South Africa's National Taxi Council (SANTACO) announced that free Wi-Fi will be offered to the country's taxi users.
The project is being driven by SANTACO's technology partner Wi-Taxi, and aims to provide connectivity inside taxis along with some cab ranks, according to ITWeb.
Free Wi-Fi will be available to passengers who register their devices. They will be offered a limited quota of megabytes, but they can receive additional megabytes by interacting with adverts, Ventures Africa reported.
Nkululeko Buthelezi, CEO of SANTACO, said Wi-Fi is being brought to South Africa's taxis as a value-added service. He said customers don't need to be concerned about increases in transport fares.
"I can assure you that it won't cost the consumer extra," Buthelezi said in an interview with Talk Radio 702. "If you walk into a taxi rank and you have access to WiFi, they will be able to look for jobs and will be able to interact with their friends on a social basis."
After preliminary small-scale testing, Brian Mdluli, CEO of Wi-Taxi, said consumers should have "strong interest and accessibility," ITWeb reported. The company said a "successful" pilot project was launched in April, and that the project is part of the South African government's goal of improving Internet access for its citizens.
Plans for the project have not been specified yet. However, Wi-Taxi will focus on supplying the taxi industry across South Africa. The company said that the country transports more than 15 million passengers each day.
SANTACO is partnering with Telkom Mobile to launch the project, Ventures Africa reported. Telkom will be responsible for providing Internet access for the project, while Wi-Taxi will help oversee the infrastructure. Telkom had partnered almost two years ago to supply close to 150 taxis in three important South African cities, Cape Town, Gauteng and Durban, with Wi-Fi.
The Wi-Fi service will be gradually rolled out. It will take between two and three years for the service to be available across the country. Wi-Fi will be installed in at least 5,000 taxis each month.