Airtel raises call costs as airtime tax takes effect


Customers outside an Airtel shop in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Airtel has increased the cost of making calls by up to Sh0.78 in response to the increase in the excise duty on airtime and data.

The telco in short messages (SMSs) to its subscribers said calls to other networks will cost Sh2.78 per minute up from Sh2 effective Friday.

The changes will hurt subscribers already grappling with reduced spending power due to the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The upward review of the call rates follows the increment of excise duty on airtime and data from 15 percent to 20 percent through the Finance Act, 2020. Mobile data and SMS charges however remain unchanged.

“Dear customer, due to an increase in excise duty from 15 percent to 20 percent from July 2, your call rate is now Sh2.78 per minute,” Airtel said in texts to its subscribers on Friday morning.

Airtel becomes the first telco to increase the cost of making calls, with Safaricom #ticker:SCOM and Telkom Kenya yet to announce price reviews.

Safaricom had on Tuesday warned that it would increase airtime and Internet charges if the President backed the MPs’ proposal to raise excise duty by five percentage points.