Safaricom has partnered with Google to offer one million affordable smartphones.
The firm whose future dangles on M-Pesa and Internet mainly due to sluggish growth in mobile calls has been forced to embrace other alternatives.
“Cost of devices should no longer be an impediment. We are launching an innovative device financing plan dubbed dubbed Lipa Mdogo Mdogo that will give customers still using feature phones an opportunity to own a 4G- enabled smartphone by paying only Sh20 a day,” said Safaricom chief executive Peter Ndegwa said.
Safaricom CEO said the prices will vary depending on the value of the smartphones. The firm seeks to convert about 4 million 2G and 3G-enabled phones to 4G.
“Democratising data implies facilitating its universal access. It requires continually working towards bridging the digital divide,” said Peter Ndegwa, the Safaricom PLC CEO.
Data is one of Safaricom’s fastest growing revenue lines and it hopes that increased smart phone usage will boost it further.
“Mama Mbogas are also using 4G enabled devices to send photos and videos of their produce to customers, taking orders online and delivering using boda-boda riders. It is an innovative way of allowing customers to get a device that they would otherwise not be able to afford. If you have an app, you can’t use it on a 2G phone,” the Business Daily quoted Safaricom CEO
In April this year, Safaricom said mobile phone data usage had grown by 35 percent as users streamed movies on platforms like Netflix, showmax,worked from home and used social media platforms.
Safaricom said earlier it will this year launch Kenya’s first fifth-generation (5G) mobile internet services in Cities.
The 5G launch will follow the December 2015 unveiling of the 4G network, which has helped Safaricom grow its revenues from data to Sh40.67 billion as at March this year from Sh9.3 billion in 2014.