Safaricom Launches ’20 Bob A Day’ 4G Smartphones
NAIROBI, 28TH JULY 2020: Safaricom on Tuesday launched an instalment payment plan for 4G smartphone devices targeting low-income earners who currently use 2G feature phones. The plan is being implemented in partnership with Google and will see qualifying customers get easier access to the internet through the Neon Ray Pro, a 4G Android (Go edition) smartphone from as low as Ksh. 20 a day.
The product dubbed “lipa mdogo mdogo‘ aims at increasing internet access to Kenyans currently using feature phones. It will allow qualifying customers access to the internet and the world of possibilities through a smartphone that they can pay-as-they-use on a daily or weekly basis.
“We are delighted today to launch this product in line with our pillar of customer-centricity. Today, everyone is going through tough economic times. This product comes as a testament to our commitment to our purpose of transforming lives. Smartphones in the hands of our customers possess life-transforming possibilities. They open a new world. We aim to take that world into the hands of every consumer through affordable means,” said Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom CEO.
The Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) estimates that Kenya has a mobile penetration of 116 per cent, but Safaricom which is the biggest mobile operator in Kenya by subscriber base says that only 42 per cent of their customers access their services using smartphones, and only 17 per cent having access to 4G enabled devices.
Ndegwa says this product will “help in bridging the digital divide and by building a significant penetration of 4G” which will enable the targeted 1 million subscribers unlock opportunities available in the digital world.
Google says that extending affordable handsets to millions of Kenyans will unlock a lot of opportunities available online to the masses.
“Android’s goal has always been to bring the power of computing to everyone. Access to the opportunities the internet offers is critical for any nations’ economic growth & social inclusion. We believe that this collaboration will bring more Kenyans online and help them take advantage of the opportunities that exist online,” said Mariam Abdullahi, Director, Android and Platforms Partnerships for Africa
To participate, customers need to dial *544# and accept the terms and conditions to opt into the service, after which they will receive an SMS approval of their eligibility and the value of the device they can purchase under the service.
Customers who already have 3G devices or higher will not be eligible for this product.
Customers who default on their payments will have up to three days to catch -up on their payments, failure to which the devices might locked by the network operator. Safaricom, however, says such a move will only be employed where other efforts have failed.
Eligibility of the financing plan will be based on customer credit score. The subscriber will need a history with Safaricom network going back at least one year and be between 18-75 years of age.