The re-launch of Mpost by Postal Corporation of Kenya (Posta) in conjunction with giant telco Safaricom spelt a new era in postal delivery in Kenya, now pegged on mobile phones.
Just like any other technological revolution in any country, Mpost leans towards mobility, whereby a person can change his/her location easily if they change their residential areas, unlike the older system.
MPost box numbers will be in the format “P. O. Box 254XXXXXXXXX” where XXXXXXXXX denotes the customer’s mobile phone number, for example, “P. O. Box 254722000000”.
How to register
Safaricom customers can visit mpost.co.ke or dial *234# (*234*1*9#) and conveniently register for a Post Office Box linked to their mobile number. The service will be priced at Ksh300 annually.
On both phone and the website, they will be required to fill details such as their names, phone number, gender, national ID number, date of birth, e-mail address, region and the post office of choice.
In the USSD dial, the system will prompt you to enter your ID number, followed by preferred postal code (each post office has a code, like for Nairobi is 00100). The postal codes can be found on the Mpost website, a shift from the traditional directory.
Once the code is entered, the system will automatically initiate a pop-up of the Mpesa menu for you to pay Ksh300, which is the annual fees to maintain the account.
With the new post office box number, customers can also change their preferred Post Office at no additional cost by dialing *234#.
The brighter side
Unlike the traditional way of postal deliveries where people could share a post office box, this one is personalised and the owner receives an alert whenever a mail arrives. In the traditional posting, the owner has to regularly check the mail box, which could consume unnecessary time in case there is no mail.
Launching the service last week, Safaricom and Posta promised that delivery would take at most one week, unlike the traditional ways where deliveries could take up to a month. This makes it ideal for modern-day activities like online shopping.
Currently, customers have to pay for the delivery of goods shopped online, but the new service promises an almost free delivery, where privacy and security is ensured. In such cases, customers can opt for door-to-door delivery, at an additional fee per delivery based on the source or destination.
According to a UN report, shoppers who rely on the Internet to buy goods in Kenya hit the 2.61 million mark in 2017. This means that Mpost holds the future to successful online shopping since most people avoid online shopping due to delivery issues.
“It is estimated that there were at least 21 million online shoppers in Africa in 2017 or less than two per cent of the world total. Three countries (Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya) together, accounted for almost half of them. The number of shoppers has surged by 18 per cent annually since 2014, higher than the world average growth rate of 12 per cent,” the report noted.
The service also guarantees flexibility, since you can change your locations to a new one, in case you shift to a new place. In such a case, your post office box remains your mobile number, hence senders do not have to look for your new number in case you shift.