Forget Soko Huru data bundles, Safaricom moves to curb data resale

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In this age of heavy data use, telecommunications companies have dedicated more effort to the product diverting business from voice calls and short Messages.  In the half-year to end of September, Safaricom recorded a profit of 21.1 billion shillings following a growth in data use and financial services.

With the roll out of the new 4G services by the company, users now get more efficient and reliable services.February 2013, Safaricom launched Sambaza internet to leverage on data use as well as usher in more users to the information age which is pushed through mix of affordable connectivity and smart devices.

The move prompted external growth of the data market. We are talking Soko Huru, Soko Nyeusi, Soko halali, Soko nyeupe and all the thriving black markets out there. Data bundles at these very markets are economic friendly as opposed to purchasing from the service provider Safaricom. Since the launch, 250 terabytes of data has been shared using the service through more than three million internet Sambaza transactions as at October

At only ksh850, one can get 1.5GB worth of bundles whereas the same amount of data bundles would cost one ksh1,000. Not much difference but again who does not want to save a coin

Well, this presented job opportunities for many Kenyans since now sharing data bundles for as much as 50 times a month would also mean reselling data bundles at a cheaper price after buying them in bulk to maximize on profit. The bundles are also obtained from new device packages that include free data from service providers denied to customers.

However, due to revenue loss, Safaricom has cut the number of times one SIM card can share data bundles to 20 per month down from 50 in a quest to curb the resale of its internet bundles. Safaricom did not think for a bit that ‘Sambaza Internet’ would work against them when they first launched the option of sharing bundles between 5MB to 2GB since ‘Sambaza credo’ worked perfectly well and still is within their control.

Today, data users rely on the infamous ‘bundles mwitu’ which offer savings as much as 15 per cent a greater deal from the original rates offered by Safaricom.  The move to stop third party resellers comes after Safaricom had earlier termed the business illegal issuing a public disclaimer against it. Even so, black market firms still promise to deliver usual services to clients the obvious option now being registration of more SIM cards to maintain business.

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Winfred Kuria
Winfred Kuria is a self-constituted web content writer in charge of Tech News and Events Publicity at Kachwanya.com. She will communicate in the simplest way possible with an aim of changing the world one mind at a time.
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