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50,000 take Safaricom’s Sh20 daily smartphone

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Safaricom's Chief Customer Officer Sylvia Mulinge. PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Safaricom seeks to eventually convert about 4 million 2G and 3G-enabled phones to 4G to rev up its data business.
  • Safaricom is partnering with Google to offer one million affordable smartphones.
  • Safaricom allows customers to make daily, weekly, partial or full payment and sends three SMS reminders every day to prompt customers to pay.

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM customers have taken up about 50,000 smartphones that require daily repayments of as little as Sh20, boosting the telcos’s quest to ramp up data revenues.

The telco says the phones were taken up between July 28 and end of September, meaning that 769 customers were going for the handsets daily on average.

Safaricom seeks to eventually convert about 4 million 2G and 3G-enabled phones to 4G to rev up its data business.

This will help offset sluggish growth in mobile calls, where it has seen a small revenue growth due to saturation, forcing the firm to turn to M-Pesa and internet to power future growth.

“We are excited about the results we are seeing. We had said we were going to use the first quarter to test customer behaviour in terms of uptake and repayment,” said Sylvia Mulinge, Safaricom chief customer officer.

“We have about 50,000 customers who have already taken it up. We want to scale up (uptake) by using our dealer network.”

Safaricom is partnering with Google to offer one million affordable smartphones and aims to rev up its data business by moving more customers to higher internet speeds.

The telco in July launched the innovative device financing plan dubbed ‘Lipa Mdogo Mdogo’ to give customers still using feature phones an opportunity to own a 4G- enabled phone.

The plan is open to customers who have been on Safaricom network for at least one year and have not been blacklisted by any credit reference bureau (CRB).

Safaricom allows customers to make daily, weekly, partial or full payment and sends three SMS reminders every day to prompt customers to pay.

The telco locks the device for customers who fail to make repayment for four consecutive days while those who default for a week are barred from all outgoing calls and SMS.

Customers who default for a month are blacklisted, disqualified for any other device loan facilities and their details forwarded to CRBs.

Safaricom is yet to disclose how many customers have defaulted on payments, with Ms Mulinge only saying the product is performing well.

“The non-performing loans have been very good and very much performing within the business case we had set,” said Ms Mulinge.

She noted that that about 50 percent of Safaricom’s 38.14 million customers are still using the 2G network and the financing plan is expected to upgrade them without straining their wallets.