Safaricom looks to widen 4G coverage with device payment program
Safaricom has officially launched its device payment programme with the intention to sell one million smartphones and upgrade users to 4G via the Lipa Mdogo Mdogo campaign.
According to the company, the programme aims to upgrade 2G users to 4G by offering them a flexible payment plan to upgrade to the Neon Ray Pro Android device. Users will be required to pay a Kshs 1,000 deposit then commit to a daily payment of Kshs 20.
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said, “The 2G network was not meant for data and it is still the most used network in the country.”
He added that Safaricom’s 4G network has 77% coverage in Kenya, but only 17% penetration on 4G handsets. The 2G and 3G networks cover 95% of the population.
The company’s total smartphone penetration is currently at 42%, while the country’s mobile phone penetration lies at 116% according to the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA).
Users have to be Safaricom subscribers and a current 2G user in order to qualify for the programme.
“The subscriber will need a history with (the) Safaricom network going back at least one year and be between 18-75 years of age,” the company added.
In partnership with Google, devices will be locked in the event payment has defaulted.
According to Safaricom, even in extreme hacking attempts, users will not be able to bypass the security set. A special app will be installed to enable users to make payments even when the device is locked.
“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 and 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.
Mobile data subscription in Kenya stands at 38,853,101 users representing 99% of the total internet subscription according to the CA.