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Airtel, Telkom increase charges on new taxes

Telkom Airtel charges
Telkom Kenya chief executive officer Aldo Mareuse (left) and Airtel Kenya's Prasanta Das Sarma at a past event. Photo | NMG 

Airtel and Telkom have increased their voice call and SMS charges by 30 cents and 10 cents respectively following the government’s decision to raise excise duty from 10 to 15 percent.

The move by the two firms comes just five days after Kenya's largest telecommunications firm Safaricom raised the cost of calls and SMS.

In a statement, Airtel Kenya managing director Prasanta Das Sarma and Telkom chief executive Aldo Mareuse said the changes take effect at midnight.

“In view of the recent increase in excise duty, other taxes and rising input costs, we are constrained to increase our headline voice and data tariffs by 30 cents each and our SMS tariff by 10 cents effective from midnight tonight,” said Mr Das Sarma, adding that Airtel mobile data bundle prices will not be affected.

The Airtel boss said the increment will also not affect Airtel money tariffs since no transaction fee is charged on Airtel to Airtel cash transfers.

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On its part, Telkom said off-net calls will be charged at Sh3.30 per minute, on-net calls Sh2.30 per minute and SMS (any-net) at Sh1.10cts per SMS.

Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) price for mobile data will also see an increase of 30 cents per MB translating to a new Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) price of Sh4.30.

Mobile post-paid services offered by Telkom will also attract a 15 per cent excise duty, up from 10 percent while broadband and fixed voice services will see the introduction of 15 percent excise duty.

Treasury increased excise duty on money transfer transaction fees from 10 to 12 per cent, a move that was seen as a major blow to encouraging cashless transactions.

To this end, Safaricom raised its money transfer transaction charges last July by a shilling to accommodate the 2 percent increase.

Last week, the firm said it has raised the cost of calls by 30 cents and SMS texts by 10 cents.

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