Safaricom has increased the voice call rates, utadoooo?

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Kenya is a land of contrasting reasoning, while Yu made their free calls permanent a few days ago, Safaricom today has increased   voice call charges to Ksh.4 on net and Ksh.5 to other network.

Effectively from today Midnight a call from Safaricom to Safaricom between the peak hours of 8:00 am and 10:00 pm will cost Ksh.4 and KES 2/= per minute during the off peak hours of 10:00 pm to 8:00 am.  The calls to all other networks will cost KES 5/= per minute. That is prepay.

For the PostPay customers, Safaricom to Safaricom calls between 8:00 am and 10:00pm will cost KES 4/= per minute, while calls made between 10:00 pm and 8:00 am will cost KES 2/= per minute with calls to all other networks charged at a flat fee of KES 4/= per minute.

During the Microsoft IGF workshop, Mr. Ndemo mentioned  that the calling rates will go up across the board. According to the PS, due to the dollar rates, the network operators have no choice but to increase the prices. That came after @BobCallymore had hinted of the same. And here we are ,Safaricom is the first one to hike the prices

So how unpopular will this move be? A Facebook group called “1 Million Kenyans Against Safaricom Intended Price Hike :: Nikuhama” which was created after Safaricom CEO talked of the intended price increase has 10,943 members as per the time of writing this post. Considering the period,  that number is huge and I expect more people to join it  due to this announcement by Safaricom.

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The big question at this point is will the other network operators follow the same path and by how much? And what would happen to Safaricom if the other operators maintained the current prices?

With Orange launching 3G and Airtel is expected to make good of their threats of launching 3G soon, Safaricom has to be careful. Many times people have said Kenyans are peculiar people and will stick with Safaricom no matter what, but there has always been a valid reason for people not to move to the other networks. One of them being 3G,and at this point this , the other networks are catching up. The other reason being MPESA..Mpesa will remain Safaricom’s strong suit for sometime but again Safaricom has to be careful. For a long time Safaricom network has be the main network for people while they keep the other lines in their pockets, just in case of an offer. Airtel and Yu changed that a little bit but this could be their chance to make people completely reverse their actions.

Is Safaricom Justified to increase the prices?

The answer to that question depend on who you talk to. To the consumers the life is getting tougher and at no time will they say yes to the price  increase. But business people will understand Safaricom’s action.  If some of your services are paid for in dollars while you sell the same in Kenya Shillings, the dollar rates definitely will affect your business.

Now the question is watu watahama ama la?

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