1% of Unlimited data users Use 70% of Resources- IS Unlimited Internet really becoming Unprofitable as Bob Collymore Says?

Data data data..it is the buzz word this year..Whether it is open, closed or whatever, it is all about data. The Government is trying hard and shouting at the rooftop about their open data initiative and the need for Kenyans to use it.  The World Bank is on the mix of anything named open data or initiative to do with open data.   So the next question is, what amount of data is enough for individual, be it voice, video, text or images? And how should it be fairly priced to enable the larger Kenyan population to access it?  In the same line how can it be done without the people selling it going at a loss?

According to safaricom COE Mr. Bob Collymore, they are seeing abuse of unlimited  internet data package by a few individuals. Mr. Collymore said this week on twitter that they are seeing a situation whereby 1% of the unlimited internet data package users using 70% of the resources. Meaning the remaining 99% are only using 30% or less of the resources . Fair enough for Mr Collymore’s claim but as a customer, what I am expected to do after paying the amount required to get the unlimited data package for a certain duration?   Let say for example I pay Ksh.1000 to access unlimited data for 7 days, what does  Safaricom expect me to do..sit back and not use it?

Some people believe that heavy users of the data, the 1% consumers  are using the unlimited internet data to download porn videos. Personally I have no problem with what an individual does with his/her internet, that is a personal choice. For me as long as they have paid for the internet, they should do whatever they want online. Ok, let do some number game here.  Safaricom Unlimited data is throttled at 512Kbps..but the reality is, when downloading you can only get between 1 to 50kpbs depending on where you are.  In Town or somewhere in Westlands and Upper Hill, it is possible to get average speed of between 40 to 50Kbps. Anywhere else, you will be lucky to get anything above 20Kbps with the Unlimited Data package. I think most people download whatever they download at home, and so we are talking about an average speed of between 10Kbps and 15Kbps unless you stay at the data belt areas.. If we take Unlimited package for 1 week at Ksh.1000. Going with the average download speed of 15Kbps for example, and assuming that the somebody would connect his/her computer for 7 days nonstop. Let see how much data can such  a person download or abuse according to Mr.Bob Collymore…

7days*24hours*60minutes*60seconds *15kbps= 9072000KiloBytes

So roughly the Ninja will get 9GB of data, in one week. So, is  that too much? Can that make unlimited data package be  unprofitable?  In other news, that amount of data can be downloaded in one hour when using fiber connection…..

Let’s move to usage pattern and the behavior of most Kenyan internet users. I know many people who buy unlimited or other bundles but don’t use them in any meaningful way at all.. Well, let say they use it  to check emails, and that is all..Practically, if you look at that they are  not using even 0.1 percent of the resources.. From Safaricom point of view , I guess that should be an idle resource they would love to sell to somebody else.. Unfortunately, the Unlimited  1%  heavy users would come in and take that up .  And may be that is where the problem is coming from. Again my question is , does that make unlimited data package unprofitable? I don’t think so!!

There is talk of fair access policy by both Orange and Safaricom.. I am not sure of what would  be fair for each individual in a world where in a daily basis we collectively we produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data.  My view is, if Safaricom think that the amount they charge for unlimited for a certain period is less, then they should increase it but once I buy the unlimited, I should be allowed to use the promised capacity the way I want.

When Fiber cables Landed in Kenya, the whole world promised us that practically every Kenyan would be able to afford to access the  internet. I mean proper getting online, and not just a glimpse of being online. In the real sense of doing whatever one  wants to do online,  be it watching videos, downloading stuff , doing research work, calling, or just browsing for the fun of it..

The following  is the the clear illustration that Kenyans should be able to that..

  • TEAMS fiber optic cable has capacity of 1.28 Tb/s
  • Seacom fiber optic cable has capacity of 1.28 Tb/s
  • EASSy fiber optic cable has capacity of 4.72 Tb/s
  • And the new baby on the block, LION 2 has capacity of 1.28 Tb/s

That is a shaking total capacity of 7.28TB/s excluding LION2……..

At the moment , it is estimated that data usage in Kenya stands at about 20 Gigabits per second (1Gbps). Take for example  the capacity of TEAMS only, and you get  around 1280 Gbps. The country is using only 0.01 of the TEAMS ‘s Capacity at any second…

Yeah yeah I know the last mile thing and the problem of the spectrum and the base station bla bla bla but……!!!!!!???









Kennedy Kachwanya1080 Posts

--- Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.


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