About 250,000 Safaricom customers have taken up smartphones on credit 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 bought between July 28 last year and the end of March, meaning that about 1,016 customers on average were going for the handsets per day.
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.
It targeted to offer one million affordable smartphones in partnership with Google in the race to grow its data business to offset a decline in mobile calls, where it has seen a small revenue fall due to saturation.
“Through Lipa Mdogo Mdogo, 250,000 customers made use of the offer, with over 60 percent upgrading from 2G and 3G to 4G devices.
“This represents a growth of 39.8 percent year-on-year in 4G devices and will have been partially responsible for the 31.1 percent growth in data customers using more than 1GB”.
The growth in data customers came in the financial year ended March, helping Safaricom’s mobile data revenue to grow 11.5 percent to Sh44.79 billion to account for 18.6 percent of the mobile service revenue.
Handset revenue rose 28.4 percent to Sh8.51 billion in the review period from Sh6.63 billion. “There was a significant increase in demand for mobile data, driven by our customers continuing to work from home and needing to stay in touch during the pandemic,” says Safaricom.
The telco aims to rev up its data business by moving more customers to higher Internet speeds. Safaricom relies on data analytics to create personalised credit scoring for its customers, helping it to decide who qualifies for the phone financing.