Wananchi Online last week signed a deal to use Safaricom's infrastructure to provide value added services. The partnership, signed by the Safaricom chief executive officer Michael Joseph and his Wananchi Online counterpart, Joseph Mucheru, at Safaricom House, is part of a drive by the mobile phone provider to popularise the usage of its GPRS and Edge Technology.

Joseph said the new service would also be available to post-paid customers who will access the services at Sh10 per megabyte. The service will later be extended to pre-paid customers at a slightly higher rates due VAT and excise duty charges. Mucheru said service will involve distribution of music from 300 local artists hosting 800 songs in the system.

"In the next few weeks, we also plan to launch an airline ticket distribution service linking 100 travel agencies through Safaricom's EDGE and GPRS network," said Mucheru. Safaricom has been supplying the GPRS/EDGE product through its care centres.

"However, to increase availability of mobile Internet services to subscribers, Safaricom has decided to partner with Wananchi Online to distribute our mobile Internet serves through its network," said Joseph. The technology is currently accessible to about five per cent of Safaricom's clients.

The East African Standard