Last week, the Postal Corporation of Kenya unveiled a new service called MPOST – Posta Mkononi. The service, a virtual postal address system, uses the mobile phone as the postal address for letter delivery. Once a user registers for the service, they can receive their letters/documents from any of the 622 PCK offices across the country, depending on convenience.
Once a letter is received by the PCK, an SMS will be sent to the user, who can then choose from where to pick it up from. The launch of the service was one of the first steps taken by the corporation which is looking to remain competitive. The Communications Authority of Kenya serves as the regulator in this segment and has in the past sought proposals for consultancy services to undertake independent study of Postal Corporation of Kenya service delivery levels. This would allow the service compete effectively.
These efforts will receive a much-needed boost as proposed in the Draft National ICT Policy 2016. The postal market will be divided into the exclusive and nonexclusive market segments as an entirerity. The policy seeks to give PCK exclusivity in the delivery of letters, postcards, printed paper and small packets with weights up to a maximum of 350grams.
PCK will also exclusively print and issue stamps as well as philatelic materials. In addition to providing private letter boxes and street posting boxes. It will however not have exclusivity in courier services, parcel delivery or postal financial services among a host of other services. The Corporation will also be encouraged to modernise and utilise its extensive network and presence to support the delivery of government services, including e-government and Internet services to far-flung rural communities.
Postal Corporation of Kenya centers have been used country-wide by the government in the roll-out of Huduma Centers. The policy proposes that PCK leverages its infrastructure for provision of government services such as tax filing, small business support, and Internet cafe services. Other services earmaked for provision through PCK include Internet services through wireless media, delivering books and medicine.
PCK’s broadband infrastructure will also be used as a first touch point for government and other services, particularly in remote and rural areas. Also proposed in the policy is the setting aside space and resources for training, airtime distribution, sale of end-user equipment; rolling out Wi-Fi hotspots in rural and semi-rural areas; and supporting crossdepartmental rollout of further government services through PCK’s extensive network.