Safaricom has reduced its internet prices for millions of its subscribers as the company moves to pass on the benefits of an improved business and regulatory environment to its customers.
The reduction has been effected by increasing the data volume for every bundle by up to 150 per cent for the same value. For instance, a subscriber who pays US $ 11.1 (KShs 999) for 600 MB of data will now get 1500 MB, indicating a more than double increase in data volumes.
The move to lower the data access rates follows a meeting between industry players and the government held to discuss how best to implement a Presidential directive calling for a review of internet pricing in Kenya.
President Mwai Kibaki made the directive two weeks ago when he launched the government open data portal – www.opendata.go.ke – which aims to boost transparency in governance and empower citizens with relevant information.
It further follows commitments made by the industry regulator, Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) and the Ministry of Information and Communication to lower spectrum fees and review the overall spectrum policy for industry players by end next of month.
The government has also undertaken measures to address rampant fibre vandalism, which has been a huge cost to the industry, as well as classify ICT infrastructure as national utilities to bring the sector up to par with power and water providers. The new guidelines are expected to allow for compensation by local authorities and public works bodies for damage occasioned to ICT infrastructure during road or sewer construction.
According to the new prices, heavy data users will also have the option to subscribe to either a weekly tariff for US $ 11.1 (KShs1,000) or a monthly tariff for US $ 33.3 (KShs 3,000), thereby allowing them to manage their data spend and access internet without worrying about their usage.
While announcing the reductions, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said the move was in line with the Safaricom 2.0 culture which puts customer needs at the centre of all the firm’s actions.
“We are continuously reviewing our value proposition to ensure that our customers enjoy unrivalled communication services at the most affordable rates while expanding the options available to them.
“Safaricom is sensitive to the strain placed on our customers’ finances by the obtaining high cost of living and hence our effort to ease this by passing the benefits of an improved working environment by lowering our prices.”
Current industry statistics indicate that, nine out of 10 regular internet users rely on the Safaricom’s network, which consists of a 3G network and WiMAX.