Unused bundles: Why Safaricom, Telkom Kenya and Airtel Kenya should activate expiry notifications

All the three telcos in the country – Safaricom, Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya – all have developed and introduced to the market various bundled offering for SMS, voice and data services. And their subscribers have been happy, only that with any good thing (or innovation for that matter), there’s (and will always be) room for some kind of improvement. Or even overhaul in extreme cases.

Let’s start with Airtel Kenya. The telco has various bundles for data (Amazing), voice (Tubonge) and combined voice voice, SMS and data (Combo) with validity ranging from 1 day to a month.

Before the bundles run out, Airtel Kenya normally sends subscribers a notification informing them about the bundle balance.

Again whenever a subscriber queries their bundle balance, both Airtel Kenya and Safaricom (for both Tunuliwa and Flex bundles) in the replies indicate the balance and when (exact time) it will expire, whether used up or not, with no option or rollover, if the bundle is not renewed before the validity period is reached.

This is important because as a subscriber, after getting such a message, you can decide to renew the bundle subscription in order to rollover the unused units or try your best and exhaust them before the time of expiry is reached.

For Telkom Kenya however, this is not the case. Whenever one queries the bundle balance, the response sent back – whether for Freedom or data bundles – is the balance (or the remaining, yet-to-be used units) but not the time of expiry of the subscription like happens with Safaricom.

But instead, Telkom Kenya sends notifications to its customers about low airtime (to prompt them to reload their lines) or expiry of bundles (after the subscription has expired, not before, which would enable someone to renew and rollover unused units).

Which makes one wonder what’s so difficult for the three telcos – Safaricom, Telkom Kenya and Airtel Kenya – to develop a system that would warn subscribers who’ve existing bundles about the pending expiry of their bundles (maybe 20 or 30 minutes to the end of the validity period), thereby prompting them to either renew the bundle or use them up and avoid a situation where they have to forfeit the unused units?

Recently, in fact this week, I had to forfeit my Safaricom (Flex) and Telkom Kenya (Freedom) bundles all because I failed to renew them by a minute, that’s a minute after expiry of the validity period.

What made it even more painful for me – I still had over 2GB of unused data on the Telkom Kenya line and about 60 Flex units on the Safaricom SIM card – was that the two telcos never notified (or warned) me about the expiry. Assuming they’d have notified me some minutes to the expiry of the bundles’ validity period, I’d have made arrangements to renew them, and thereby rollover the unused units. In this case however, they were forfeited back to the telcos. And I’m sure that this is a situation that many people who are subscribers to these services have an issue with.

To Safaricom, Telkom Kenya and Airtel Kenya: just develop a system to notify bundle subscribers about the expiry of the subscriptions before the validity period is reached for them to renew the subscriptions and avoid forfeiting them back to you.


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