Data should have no expiry date – Bob Collymore, 2012

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  • 4 years ago
  • Posted: March 12, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Safaricom restructured its data bundles which we covered in the article title :-

 Better and confusing option! Safaricom in trouble for new data plan

Then customers cried and threatened to ditch the telecom service provider for rivals such as Airtel that have come up with

a very competitive product that they call Unliminet.

I am also tempted to ditch Safaricom for Unliminet but first I need to exhaust the 10 GB of data I just bought on Safaricom, which I deeply regret – and that’s why Cofek need to initiate a law suit against Safaricom immediately.

Safaricom has tried to address some of the concerns that customers raised when they restructured their data plan. The concerns were basically twofold:

  1. That Safaricom scraps the validity period tied to the data bundles
  2. That Sambaza Internet be set back to original structure

In real sense, none of those two concerns were addressed when

Safaricom backtracked on stringent data use conditions.

Instead of addressing the first concern, Safaricom simply brought back the old data plan where Shs 500 would get you 500 MB of data valid for 90 days and Shs 4000 allowed you to access 8 GB of data, and again, for 90 days.

In the old data structure, if you were unable to exhaust the data within the valid days, then you only needed to purchase a new bundle (any), and your pending data would be part of the new data you just bought. However, this will no longer apply.

Under the

new Safaricom’s Terms and Conditions

for the restructured data offer, we have the following wordings applicable across the weekly, monthly and 90 days data bundles respectively:

At the expiry of 7 days, any unused bundles will expire and will permanently be unavailable to you. Any unused bundle cannot be rolled over

At the expiry of 30 days, any unused data will expire and will permanently be unavailable to you. Any unused data cannot be rolled over

Any unused part of the bundle by the validity date will expire and cannot be rolled over or be available for further use after the validity date. (iv) If you continue to browse after the expiry or completion of your Bundle the published Safaricom Out of Bundle Tariff will apply

So you cried to Safaricom to remove the validity period but they responded by bringing back the old 90 days data offers by ensuring that the absurd condition of deleting unused data is implemented.

Important to note, as I vividly explained in a previous article titled

Night Shift Bundles by Safaricom,

the 90 days bundles had a 50% off-peak offers valid for 14 days. This offer is back but the usage hours have been reduced by 4. Previously the off-peak bundles generally termed as Night Shift bundles were available for use between 10 PM and 10 AM next day, but this has since been changed to 10 PM to 6 AM next day. The new off-peak timing is also applicable to the monthly 100% Night Shift bundle offers. For the purposes of this article, I asked Safaricom to confirm the new timing and they tweeted:

As you can see, Safaricom has not given you any better Internet offers compared to what competition is offering. Although Orange data bundles also expire after one month, the expired bundles can be renewed if one recharges within the next 30 days.

They explain:

What about this Unliminet offer? Can one renew their data after expiry? Sadly no. The only way to renew the bundles and use them the following day or week or month is if the renewal is done before the expiry date. I asked them on twitter and they responded:

When I asked them if my data shall have gone to the wind if the renewal is after expiry date, they answered to the affirmative – YES . The slight difference between Airtel and Safaricom is that Airtel allows renewal before expiry date but Safaricom does not allow renewal at all. Their reply to my query was straight forward, bundles expired is not rolled over. Have a look.

The fact that Airtel allows renewal of data before expiry makes them a bit different from Equitel too. Although I haven’t been able to have my Equitel data run past the normal validity period (which I am not sure of anyway), Equitel does not allow you to buy new data when the previous purchase has not been exhausted. Safaricom may be allowing renewal before expiry date but they do not roll over any expired data at all, whether renewal is before or after expiry date.

Sambaza Internet

Safaricom initially allowed you and me to Sambaza up to 999 MBs daily. This allowed for smart businessmen and women to resell Safaricom’s data at cheaper rates. For example, a Facebook Page by the name

Safaricom Cheap Data Bundles 

had the following data offers:

  • 200mbs at 150sh
  • 250mbs at 180sh
  • 300mbs at 200sh
  • 400mb at 250sh
  • 500mb at 300sh
  • 600mb at 360sh
  • 700mb at 420sh
  • 800mb at 480sh
  • 900mb at 540sh
  • 1GB at 600sh
  • 1.5GB at 900sh
  • 2GB at 1200sh
  • 2.5Gb at 1500sh
  • 3Gb at 1800sh

Normally 500 MB would cost you Shs 500 and 1.5 GB would cost you Shs 1,000. However these guys would sell the two bundles for Shs 300 and Shs 900 respectively, and still make a profit. This is how they would make their profit; they would buy 8 GB of data for Shs 4,000 at the rate of 50 cents per MB and Sambaza you 500 MB at the rate of 60 cents per MB thereby making 10 cents profit while selling you 500 MB of data at a rate that’s 40% cheaper. To stop the smart businessmen and women from making profits out of their not-so-smart data structuring, Safaricom decided not to restructure their data offering in a smarter manner but to limit the amount of data one can Sambaza daily from 999 MBs to 20 MBs. This new sambaza limit got a number of people complain and the best complain came from Jonathan Wachira as was posted by Cofek:

Internet Bundles

My internet bundles are going to a waste because the validity is only 30 days. There is no-rollover or transfer to my other devices allowed, I have 3 Safaricom lines, a laptop, tablet, smartphone. I just cannot use these bundles in my house! Is this how Safaricom put the customer needs 1st? What a waste! Kindly, kindly address these urgent issues, there is no turning back, good service is not a privilege, It is a must Regards Jonathan Wachira Munge

With the new Sambaza limit, if you have multiple gadgets like Jonathan, you will only have one expensive option – that of buying bundles for every gadget. Expensive because if you were to Sambaza up to 1 GB daily, you could opt to purchase the cheaply rated 50GB+50GB that currently costs only Shs 6,750 and Sambaza to your numerous gadgets. However, right now your best bet is to buy the 5GB+5GB ten times and spend Shs 20,000 in the process.

About expiry dates, Airtime and Data Bundles

Arguments have been put forth in regards to requiring the telecos to discard the validity period tied to airtime and data bundles. Cofek, through their Facebook Page, quoting Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, puts it rightly thus:

This is what Bob Collymore said in 2012: “In Kenya, when you buy a 1.5Gb internet bundle from Safaricom you pay 1000ksh (~$12). You’ve paid for the data, and there is no additional cost to Safaricom if you were to use that data today or a year from now. The whole concept of data bundle expiry is ridiculous, as noted by Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore when he visited the iHub: “When you go into a petrol station and fill up your car, does the owner of the petrol station tell you to bring it back on Wednesday to take back what’s left in the vehicle? Of course not. So I ask, why the hell are we doing that?” Bob goes on to say that he isn’t going to be an apologist for this practice, that there is a problem with leaving the data there ad infinitum. That 60 days is probably too short and that Safaricom does need to change how they handle this.”

Related:

The unfair Safaricom’s Internet
Frustrations with Safaricom’s Internet
What is Really Wrong with Safaricom 3G Internet?

PS. Safaricom’s Internet is intentionally slowed down between 6 pm and midnight, just in case you were planning to use the night shift bundles.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Analytics Ltd
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Odipo Riaga is a Technology Blogger interested in emerging tech such as VR and AR, AI, Life Extension, Exponential Biotech, Immortality, Cyborgs and many others.
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