8ta offers free Wi-Fi on taxis - TechCentral

8ta offers free Wi-Fi on taxis

Amith Maharaj

Telkom’s mobile operator, 8ta, has started offering free Wi-Fi-based Internet access on a fleet of taxis in Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban.

The Wi-Fi hotspots, which provide connectivity to 8ta’s third-generation mobile broadband network, are available on 100 taxis in Gauteng, 30 in Cape Town and 20 in Durban. These numbers will grow to 150 in Gauteng by the end of the year, 100 in Cape Town and 100 in Durban.

8ta senior managing executive Amith Maharaj says all of the taxis will have the same Wi-Fi name, or service set ID, meaning that after users establish a connection for the first time, their devices will be connected automatically the next time they hail an 8ta-branded taxi.

Two of the 8ta-branded taxis

Maharaj says the decision to brand the taxis and provide free Wi-Fi is part of a brand-building exercise for the mobile operator.

“8ta is really focused on a data-centric strategy,” he says. “This adds to that strategy and gives consumers an opportunity to test it without committing. If they like what they experience, maybe they’ll go out and buy the service.”

The Wi-Fi service utilises 8ta’s infrastructure only and does take advantage of the company’s roaming agreement with MTN. Up to eight devices can be connected simultaneously in each taxi. The taxis use Huawei E5331 Wi-Fi modems.

Maharaj says the taxis take an average of 15-20 trips a day each, with an average of two people per trip.  — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media

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