Safaricom (NSE: SCOM) and the Postal Corporation of Kenya announced a partnership around the MPost service, with a goal of rolling out digital Post Office Boxes to more than 5 million additional customers across the country.
Under the partnership, 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 an affordable sh300 annually.
“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#.
We have invested in the MPost innovation to meet the shifting demands of our customers in a modern, digital world. This partnership will enable Safaricom’s more than 34 million customers to access postal services from the 625 Postal outlets spread across the country, directly from their mobile phones,” said Dan Kagwe, Post Master General and CEO, Postal Corporation of Kenya
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”. 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 7 days over the counter.
“I am proud to state that Posta Kenya has identified the importance of technology by developing new ground-breaking products that complement its core mandate of delivering financial, communication and distribution solutions to its customers. This partnership demonstrates the confidence that Safaricom has in Posta Kenya’s capacity in provision and delivery of efficient services to its customers”, said Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.
Customers can also 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.
The partnership looks to address numerous challenges faced by Kenyans around postal services and logistics. According to government data, 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.
Kenyans without a Post Office Box also miss out on opportunities such as ecommerce. Data from the Postal Corporation of Kenya shows that AliExpress now accounts for more than 62 percent of their deliveries following the latter’s partnership with M-Pesa in March 2019.