Posta eyes revival with secure e-mail services

The Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) will early next year launch an encrypted mailing service targeting tech-savvy individuals and companies.

Posta’s newest service dubbed Postal Registered Encrypted Mail (Prem) targets individuals and companies that rely on email for personal or official communication.

To gain access to the service, individuals will be required to subscribe through Posta’s online portal at a cost of Sh250 per month, which will allow them to send 25 emails.

Companies with less than 100 employees will pay Sh500 per user for 100 emails while unlimited use of the service for large companies is subject to an agreement with Posta.

Posta hopes to generate Sh20 million monthly for the first six months after launch of Prem, with the hope of increasing revenues as more people learn about the service.

The Prem solution combines a number of features to ensure security when sending a document. It enables the sender to add a signature on a document and issues a notification on the status of email sent.

“The aent of email solution has come with shortcomings and one main issue is the security concern especially when sending secured documents over email,” said Renken Muinde, PCK’s Innovations and Business Systems manager.

“This service combines a number of critical elements to ensure security. It ensures encryption so that your data is secure and makes it possible for the sender to do online signing. It also issues proof of delivery – eliminating the case where people say they did not receive the email.”

The government parastatal is banking on these features to sell the service to the market. The service will also enable people to carry out private discussions and exchange confidential documents online.

“With Prem solution it means that a person will be in a position to send confidential email, business contracts, appointment letters, e-tickets and e-bills without the fear that a third party might see the sent details.”

Postal organisations have in the past dominated communication channels but are now struggling to remain relevant in the fast changing digital world.

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Prem is a concept that is being pushed by postal organisations throughout the world as they attempt to come up with solutions that are unique to their environment.

Posta Kenya, for instance, is betting on the growing number of people using smartphones and the penetration of internet to grow revenues by launching digital services.

According to the latest statistics from the Communications Authority of Kenya covering the quarter ended June, the number of internet subscription in the country stands at about 20 million with mobile internet accounting for 99 per cent of subscriptions.

This means that nearly half of the population has access to the internet.

If PCK captures the encrypted email market, it will be looking at earning millions of shillings in annual revenues.

“We can still re-invent ourselves and also go back to that position whereby all e-communications are trusted to be done through postal organisations,” said Muinde.

Posta bought the emailing solution from RPost, a US-based company.

“The purchase happened during a time when we are doing automation of services, which has roughly cost the company Sh500 million,” said Dickson Nyagah, Posta marketing manager.

Posta has now embarked on a marketing drive to sensitise the public about the new service, as the company awaits the official launch.