Late last week, Safaricom and the Postal Corporation of Kenya (Posta) announced a new partnership around the MPost (Mobile Post Office) service. With this partnership, the hope is to roll out digital Post Office Boxes to more than 5 million additional customers across the country.
This is not a new service as it has been there but never gained as much traction as Posta had hoped it would. I have to confess that I actually paid for the service when it initially rolled out but at some point I forgot that it existed until I was reminded that my subscription was due. MPost is priced at Ksh 300 per year compared to what you will pay to have a physical box at your local Post Office. This is affordable for me and I know it is the case for many people out there.
With MPost, you get a virtual post office box that should appeal to those who want Post Office services but may not be willing to get a traditional Post Office Box. With MPost, users can access the traditional Post Office services without the need of having a physical box that is usually more expensive. Think of having a Post Office box but not a physical one that you have to access at your nearest Post Office, with MPost, it is linked to your phone number and that number is your address. Your phone number is unique and that will be the case with your MPost address.
MPost is priced at Ksh 300 per year compared to what you will pay to have a physical box at your local Post Office.
How Safaricom fits into MPost
Since MPost has been around for some time, having a big player like Safaricom as a partner will help it expand further to those who may not have heard about it or those who may have heard about it but for some reason they forgot it exists.
This new partnership means that Safaricom subscribers can use their phone numbers to register for a Post Office Box. MPost is definitely getting a boost from this partnership as now all the 34 million Safaricom customers can easily register for the service.
How to register for MPost
Before we get to how the service works, it is good to look at how to register for the service. There are two main methods, by dialing *234# on your Safaricom line or through http://mpost.co.ke. In this post I will at the first option as it is the one I have tried. No matter which option you use, the process is easy and straightforward, just follow the prompts on the screen.
- Dial *234# and then choose option 1 (M-Pesa products)
- When here, input 98 (more) and then choose option 9 (M-Post)
- Alternatively, you can simplify the process by dialing *234*1*9#. This will take you directly to the M-post option.
- As I have mentioned, I had already registered for M-Post a while back and for my case, all I had to do was renew my subscription by paying Ksh 300. If you have never signed up for the service, just follow the prompts to register for the service.
You will be able to choose the closest Post Office to pick letters/parcels/documents from. This should be the Post Office convenient for you and you get to choose from over 625 postal outlets across the country. You can change your preferred Post office at no extra cost by dialing *234#. This is convenient if you move and want to have your preferred Post Office to be the closest one to you.
How MPost Works
So now that we have the basics cover, how exactly does MPost work. Yes, we know its is a virtual Post Office box, but how does that work? Where will your letters and parcels go to? They can’t be delivered through text or can they 😊.
As I have mentioned above, in this arrangement, the phone number will be the Post Office address. For example, if your phone number is 0722000000, your MPost address will be P. O. Box 2540722000000-XXXXXX. The XXXXXX here is your preferred post office code, if you use Nairobi GPO, that will be 00100. You can find the code of the Post office near to you here.
Now that you have gone through the registration process and you have your MPost box number, what next? You can use it as you would your traditional Post Office box. You can give the MPost number to people to send you letters and parcels and if you buy things online from eCommerce sites like AliExpress, you can have them deliver them there, no need of having a traditional Post Office box.
When you get mail in your MPost an SMS notification is sent to the Phone and you will be able to collect the mail over the next 7 days over the counter. If you do not have time to go to the Post Office to pick your mail, you can choose additional services that include physical delivery of mail to your doorstep, or mail pickup for delivery. These additional services are available at a fee depending on the destination where you want the items delivered.
And it is that simple and convenient. All this is for Ksh 300 per year.
M-Post is an inclusive and convenient product since it gives anyone with a phone number access to postal services. When you think about most young people, they do have phone numbers but most do not think about having a Post Office box, M-post can change this as they can literally do everything on their phone.
Affordability – At Ksh 300 per year, M-post is affordable compared to getting a physical post office box that will cost you over Ksh 2,560 per year.
Secure – Since you are getting a Mobile based service communal sharing of boxes is eliminated hence enhancing security and privacy.
The Ecommerce Angle
If you have ever bought stuff from international eCommerce sites, you know delivery can be a huge risk and task. The delivery costs can be expensive if you do not live in Nairobi as most of the last mile delivery service providers charge depending on the distance and the further you are from Nairobi, the higher the cost. You can use a number of third parties to help you with this but now with M-post, you can use it as your primary address. A site like AliExpress has a ton of affordable items that you can buy and have them shipped to your M-Post address at a very affordable rate.
With AliExpress, you can pay via M-pesa, a more convenient way for most Kenyans. Using M-pesa and having it deliver to your M-post address is way more convenient that the options we have at the moment.