Photograph — Tech.Africa

Kenyan network operator, Safaricom has introduced new products in a strategy aimed at ensuring simplicity, transparency, and honesty across all its products and operations. This development is also to mark its 19th year proferring telecommunications services.

As part of efforts to simplify its products, the company has unveiled a new data plan. The new bundles are available on *544# and it allows users to choose any amount to buy and also get 50 percent extra airtime for calls and SMS across all networks. The plan offers data bundles and calling minutes with no expiry.

“Over the last 19 years, we have come a long way together with our customers. As we celebrate our anniversary, it is a unique opportunity to reevaluate our operations to ensure that we remain relevant to our customers into the future,” said Micheal Joseph, CEO Safaricom.

This development new further empowers customers with the freedom to purchase both talk time and data bundles for any amount, starting as low as Ksh1. Customers can see how much data MegaBytes, minutes and SMS they will get before completing the transaction, Joseph said.

This move, though very impressive is coming after a lawyer and ICT practitioner, Adrian Kamotho sued the network provider for irregularly depriving consumers of their unused data bundles. 

In a complaint filed before the Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal against Safaricom, Airtel, and Telkom Kenya, Kamotho said he was aggrieved by the high cost of data and frustrated by the arbitrary expiry of hard-earned bundles.

“Data bundles should not have an expiry date until used up as long as the SIM card is active and the consumer keeps recharging,” he said.

The plaintiff believed that the data expiry model is unfair to the poor majority, who can buy low amounts of bundles. The bundles were designed in such a way that it could expire sooner than big bundles which only the rich can afford.

According to a report by Quartz Africa, Africa has one of the largest numbers of internet users globally. But even with this high rate, the cost of accessing the internet still remains out of reach for millions. 

While several telecommunications companies have lowered – and continue to lower – prices for data bundles, low-income levels in the region means internet access remains expensive for the majority.

This highlights the relevance of allocating an extensive period for data bundles as seen in Safaricom’s new plan, which should be emulated by other mobile network operators across the region.

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