The rising popularity of mobile services such as social media, messaging apps, and electronic cash transfers has driven demand for mobile subscriptions in Kenya.
The rise in popularity has resulted in a mobile penetration rate of 97.8 percent as of June 2018, a 13 percent year-on-year increase.
There were 43,329,434 Internet users as of December 2018, 83.0 percent of the population, according to the Communication Authority.
There is, therefore, a huge demand for data bundles in Kenya. As the population grows, so is the demand.
Expiry or No Expiry
Safaricom became the first telecommunication company in the country to remove a cap on its data bundles. According to Safaricom, customers are now able to purchase data bundles and use them without being limited to an expiry date.
The announcement by Safaricom came at a time many Kenyans were pushing for telecommunications companies to remove the cap on their data bundles, saying it was illegal and outright stealing, in the event a deadline reaches before one utilizes all the bundles purchased.
A lawyer and ICT practitioner, Adrian Kamotho, moved to court to sue the telecommunications companies, wanting them to be compelled to drop among other things, the “unfair data expiry model that has been hitting hard on the poor majority who can only buy the low amount of bundles.”
As the debate raged on as to whether the companies should be compelled to drop the expiry date on data bundles, Safaricom struck with their offer which has now been received with mixed reactions from a section of Kenyans.
Some Kenyans are brushing off the offer by Safaricom, saying the bundles have become more expensive than they were when the expiry date was on. Some are of the opinion that Safaricom might take advantage of no expiry to have bundles be depleted at a faster rate so that Kenyans purchase as many times as possible.
Question: have the bundles offered by Safaricom become more expensive with No Expiry as compared to other bundles from other players, say Telkom Kenya?
Let us go through the process of purchasing a data bundle from Safaricom, using 100 shillings. We shall then compare this against those offered by Telkom at the same price.
Now, dial *544# on your phone. You can either select Data Bundle (NO EXPIRY) or Normal Data Bundle WITH EXPIRY.
Let us start with normal data bundle; with 100 shillings, Safaricom will give you 500MB plus 500 SMS plus free WhatsApp for a period of 24 hours. For a 7-day period, 99 shillings will give you 350MB plus free WhatsApp.
Let us now have a look at the data bundle with no expiry from Safaricom. Dial *544# and select Data Bundle (No Expiry.) 100 shillings will give you 500 MB of data with no expiry. It is you to choose between the two whether you need the normal data with expiry or the data bundle with no expiry.
Now, let us shift the focus to Telkom Kenya. With Telkom Kenya, there is still an expiry date on their data bundles. But what will 100 shillings give you? Dial *544# on your phone. You can either choose option 1 or option 4. Option 1, with 50 shillings, Telkom gives you 500MB plus 500MB Night data. Compare this with Safaricom.
Let us say you chose option 4 on Data Bundles and selected 1 Day Bundles. 100 shillings will surprisingly give you 2GB worth of bundles plus another 2GB knows as Night Data. Now say, you have 100 shillings, and want a data bundle that will last you for a week, 99 shillings will give 500 MB worth of Data Bundles.
Kenya is a free market. You cannot be forced to purchase what you don’t need but you have the freedom and an open mind to choose.