You Can Now Use Your Mobile Phone Number As A Virtual Post Office Box In Kenya

The Postal Corporation of Kenya has launched a convenience service meant to help its clients access post and mail services with ease and at their convenience through their mobile phones.

The service is known as MPost, with the tagline 'Posta Mkononi', literally 'the post in your hands'. It turns the user's mobile phone number into a virtual post office box.

The Postal Corporation, commonly known as Posta, has launched the service as part of its mission to deliver superior communication, distribution, and financial solutions to customers and create value to stakeholders.

The virtual post box costs KES 300 (US$2.96) a year, and enables users to track mail from their mobile phones and get timely notifications once mail is received. Users also have the option to get their mail delivered to a preferred location using Posta Dispatch or EMS services.

The mobile-based service links your physical box to a virtual address, which in this case is your mobile phone number. You can use this service in conjunction with your physical box, and you will then be able to receive notifications when you've got mail.

While postal services have been on the decline, it's not all gloom and doom for snail mail in Kenya. The last Quarterly Statistics Report [PDF] from the Communications Authority of Kenya indicates that the number of letters sent locally experienced a 35.6 percent growth, with 17.6 million letters sent during the first quarter of 2016, up from 12.9 million in the preceding quarter. The percentage of courier items sent also grew from 305,248 items in quarter 4 of 2015 to 445,836 during the first quarter of 2016.

The Postal Corporation has also gotten into the e-commerce business, delivering orders made online from outside Nairobi, leveraging on its extensive network and distribution infrastructure.

These moves are part of a strategy to add value to a service that has seen its core business shrink due to the emergence of private courier service companies and electronic communication.

Delivery of letters and post to people's physical addresses remains a challenge. Although there have been efforts to assign buildings in Nairobi's Central Business District with numbers and physical addresses, the rest of the city lacks a proper addressing system that would ensure that people get letters where they are instead of having to go to the post office.

This new service is a step in the right direction, removing the need to constantly check the post box for new mail, and the ability to have your mail delivered to you directly is a definite value addition.

Cover Photo via Postal Corporation of Kenya

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