Photo credits: Safaricom Ltd
The giant telecommunications company in Africa Safaricom PLC has partnered with Google in a move that targets to improve phone coverage among the Kenyan population. Kenyans and Entrepreneurs alike have applauded the milestones the company had taken to boost internet connectivity in the country.
Currently, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya, total phone coverage is at about 116 percent with Safaricom’s customer base smartphone coverage being at a low of just about 42 percent.
The 4G smartphone coverage was on a low of about 16.8 percent. Speaking during the launch on Tuesday 28th July 2020, Safaricom CEO Mr. Ndegwa noted these discouraging statistics. “Specifically, 4G handsets penetration is only at 16.8 percent. This, presents an opportunity for Lipa Mdogo Mdogo,” Mr. Ndegwa said.
So, who qualifies for this attractive plan to own a smartphone? Is it the entire Safaricom customer base or are there any specific customers?
For one to qualify he/she must fulfill the following requirements;
- The campaign initially will target subscribers who are on the 2G Network. So, you will not qualify if Safaricom knows you’re already a 4G customer.
- One must be 18 Years and above, and have used their SIM Card for at least a year, and have been active on M-Pesa and calls.
- To check if you are eligible for this plan, you’ll need to dial *544# and select option 5 to check if you qualify for the Lipa Mdogo Mdogo Plan
The Neon Ray Pro phone was developed by Google in efforts to ease access to the internet by low-income earners. “Access to the opportunities the internet offers is critical for any nation’s economic growth and social inclusion.’ We believe this collaboration will bring more Kenyans online and help them take advantage of the opportunities that exist online,” said Ms. Abdullahi Mariam the Director, Android & Platforms Partnership at Google.
Photo credits: Kenya Tech News
How will one pay for the device?
What if one defaults on paying their installment?
Safaricom has come up with a customer-friendly payment plan that will bring the conversation to the buyers of these devices which will work as follows;
- If you qualify, you will be asked to go to a Safaricom Shop
- There you will make KES. 1,000 down payment and pick up a brand-new Neon Ray Pro phone
- An app on the device will be used to make the daily KES. 20 payments.
- One can pay extra amounts when they’re in a position to do so giving them more time to pay for the device while still using it.
- There’s also a 3-day grace period for defaulted payments before the device locks only allowing access to the app for payment.
- After the first 7 days of payment, customers will get free YouTube bundles.
- The Payment plan runs for 9 Months.
This means one will spend about a maximum of KES. 6,580 as the total cost of the handset under this plan. The handset currently retails at KES. 5,999 in cash terms.
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa marked his 100 days at the helm of the company with the launch outlining his targets in providing affordable devices to their customers. “Smartphones in the hands of our customers possess life-transforming possibilities. They open a new world. We aim to take that world into the hands of every consumer through affordable means,” Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa said.
“One of the things I set out to do when I took up this job was to democratize data by delivering affordable devices. Today is the first step towards this commitment, besides, Lipa Mdogo Mdogo will help in bridging the digital divide by building a significant penetration of 4G handsets and internet usage in the country,” he added.
Safaricom currently boasts of a 77 percent 4G coverage of the total population and a whopping 94 percent in 3G coverage. This latest move will sure make owning a smartphone in Kenya affordable.
Author: Felix O Mbaka
Subsector Head: Finance and Business, Fursa Africa Group.
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