Wi-fi On Wheels: Mzansis Minibus Taxis Have Been Wired Up

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wifi on wheels mzansis minibus taxis have been wired up
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Speaking to The Citizen , Sebenza Wi-Fi field and installations manager Sihle Nxumalo said like most public Wi-Fi hotspots, users have to register on the system using their mobile number before they can access the Internet.

Nxumalo also confirmed the service was absolutely free. So, whats the catch?

They have to engage with our content to earn virtual currency, called Sebenza Bucks , which they can use to purchase megabytes on the platform, he said.

The more engagement you have with our content, the more bucks you earn. The more bucks you have, the more data you get.

Thousands of minibus taxis have been equipped with Wi-Fi routers to keep passengers connected on their commute. Image: Supplied. ALSO READ: Lifes a ride: Joburg minibus taxi driver talks about his job How it all started

Sebenza Wi-Fis multi-thousand taxi journey began three years ago.

We started in Hammanskraal with about 15 taxis, Nxumalo recalled, explaining the service provider approached some taxi drivers with the idea.

We got to the taxi rank, spoke to some drivers and found that there was a big interest, he said.

Shortly after, the company pitched the idea to the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), which oversees thousands of minibus taxi operations countrywide.

The partnership enabled us to [equip] more vehicles [with routers],

Currently, thousands of commuters rely on public transportation to get travel to work daily, travelling long distances. The commute can be exhausting, making the Internet a welcome distraction.

During their travel, they have no Internet access and theres a demand of people wanting to be online, Nxumalo noted.

Right now we are moving to a digital space where everything is [done] online, and the taxi industry needs a lot of innovation, he said.

Commuters can enjoy free Wi-Fi in select minibus taxis and buses nationwhile. Image: Supplied. Cybersecurity measures

With SAs high data prices being a pain-point for many people, a free Wi-Fi connection always comes in handy. However, the rise in cyber crime has caused some to think twice when connecting to public Wi-Fi.

Asked what the Sebenza Wi-Fi is doing to protect users from cybersecurity threats, Nxumalo said the service provider ran a tight ship.

Our system is secure, safe and very encrypted, he said adding they had not encountered security issues thus far.

ALSO READ: Six cybersecurity threats targeting children in 2024

Load shedding

Although load shedding is on pause until further notice, Eskoms power cuts have been a pain-point for most industries in recent years.

SAs telecommunications sector has also taken a blow due to loss in mobile connectivity in some areas during load shedding.

Asked what Sebenza Wi-Fi has done to safeguard against power outages, Nxumalo said the company had things under control.

Even during load shedding our routers still work perfectly, Nxumalo told The Citizen.

We have a very dedicated and active tele-maintenance team and technicians, he said, explaining they were equipped to actively address connectivity issues. Our routers communicate in real-time, where the team can then log into our systems and fix any [connectivity] issues, he explained.

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