Safaricom has inked a deal with the Postal Corporation of Kenya (Posta Kenya) for the MPost service to roll out digital Post Office Boxes to more than 5 million customers across the country.
The deal will allow Safaricom customers to register for a Post Office Box linked to their mobile number by visiting the M-Post website or dialing *234*1*9#. The service will be priced at Ksh300 annually.
“Kenya’s economy is increasingly digitizing leading to the growth of online delivery of goods and services. Posta’s logistical capabilities and Post Office branch network are well placed to meet this shift. We are therefore coming together to create value for our customers by empowering them to conveniently and affordably receive parcels and goods wherever they may be across the country” said Michael Joseph, CEO, Safaricom.
When registering for MPost, customers will have the option of selecting which Post Office to pick their deliveries from by keying the Postal Code of the particular branch. Customers can also change their preferred Post Office at no additional cost by dialing *234#.
MPost box numbers will be in the format of the traditional box number, but this time a combination of the country code and the mobile number, for instance “P. O. Box 254722000000”.
Customers using the service will receive their mail at no cost as is the case with a traditional box, and they will receive an SMS notification whenever they have mail to be collected at their Postal Branch. The mail can then be collected over the next seven days over the counter.
The service will also allow customers to choose additional services such as physical delivery of mail to their door step, or mail pickup for delivery. Both services will be offered at an additional fee per delivery based on the source or destination.
According to Posta, the partnership looks to address numerous challenges faced by Kenyans around postal services and logistics. Government data indicates that more than 4,000 driving licenses are returned every two months due to failure of their owners to collect them. Kenyans have also been sharing Postal Boxes compromising their privacy and confidentiality especially for sensitive deliveries or leading to mail recipients being unaware when they have due mail.
Mpost was launched in 2017, and as of August this year, the venture had over 40,000 new users who had subscribed.
Last year, MPost emerged the winner of the ‘South Africa Innovation Summit – an African startup competition that was held in Cape Town, South Africa, beating 25 finalists from across Africa.
MPost was initially started on the USSD platform and is now on Android and iOS platform and via its web platform.
Customers will be able to get the services from more than 625 locations across the country where they can pick their mail and parcels.