Safaricom Flex was introduced in March 2017 to cater for a particular group of humans; those that used to call or text Safaricom that their data bundles should be changed back to airtime or text messages. But everytime they called Safaricom, Safaricom had only one reply, “Sorry Bob, we are unable to change your data bundles back to airtime”.
The same feeling still exist for those who have airtime but would really like that airtime to be changed into MPESA balance. For example if I have 400 shillings in airtime but nothing in MPESA and I receive an emergency call from a relative or friend who would appreciate some shs 100 via MPESA, and I do not have cash or I am not near an MPESA shop, I will be unable to be of help. The Safaricom solution of airtime-MPESA is only applicable when I have bought airtime through MPESA instead of withdrawing or sending that cash.
I hope you now understand why there are Safaricom subscribers who really wanted to have their data changed back to airtime, as having data without airtime is really limiting. To these users, Safaricom thought of giving them a platform through which they can use their airtime either as data, talk time, or text messages. This solution is the same as using direct airtime for those services, but at a much cheaper rate. If for example you were to use your direct airtime to access data, you’d be charged Kshs 8 per MB – charges that can be as high as 3,600% more expensive compared to using data bundles. Flex resolved the problem by allowing the user to access data at rates similar to purchasing data bundles but still allows the user to make calls at cheaper rates, and send three text messages for an approximate Kshs 1, instead of 1 text message for the same amount.
About one year after the product launched, it appears, Safaricom Flex Bundles has managed to satisfy a peculiar group of humans; those that make a lot of calls per day. It is not clear whether these humans are the same ones who used to call/text Safaricom to have their data changed back to airtime, but what has become clear is that those who must make a lot of calls on a daily basis find Safaricom Flex very cost effective. As I explained last week, those who use Safaricom Flex have found out that they can save up to 50% of airtime if they opt to make their calls, browse, and send text messages via Safaricom Flex Bundles.
This brings us to one conclusion, that if you are one of those people who normally find themselves with excess bundles (that is you really like to browse than to make calls or send text messages), but would like to make calls once in a while, then instead of using all your airtime to purchase data bundles and remain with no airtime balance that you can sometimes use to make emergency or important calls, then what you need to do is to purchase Safaricom Flex Bundles instead.
An illustration should do: Most intensive data users on Safaricom network would prefer to purchase the 7.5GBs of data for Kshs 2,000, and probably leave about Kshs 500 as airtime; implying that their monthly budget for airtime is Kshs 2,500. However, as the month progresses, they would find that by the 20th day of the month they have used all the airtime but they still have around 3.5GB of data left. At the moment where they have no airtime but with 50% of the data left, these data intensive users would really want a way of exchanging some of that data back to airtime. In the era of sambaza bundles (before the current restrictions), these users would sell their data to willing buyers and get the needed airtime to make that call. But now that the maximum data one can easily transfer to some other subscriber is a meagre 10MBs, this method has become economically non-viable. With Safaricom Flex however, the same person can now buy 2700 Safaricom Flex Bundles and use the Flex Bundles as data bundles. As data bundles, the 2700 Safaricom Flex Bundles will be worth 8.1GBs, which is 600MBs more than if one bought the 7.5GBs for the same Kshs 2,000.
If after 20 days the person will have used 4GB of data, which will be 1,333 Flex Bundles, and now wants to make a call, the person will not need to transfer any data to anyone in order to get the much needed airtime. Instead, he/she will simply make a call let’s say for 3 minutes which will have consumed 9 Flex Bundles. By the end of the call, he/she will still have some 1,357 Safaricom Flex Bundles to continue using as data bundles.
Those who make so many calls per day will also lead us to the same conclusion, as calls through Flex are made at rates between Kshs 2.5 per minute to Kshs 3 per minute, depending on the amount of Flex bundles you have bought. The higher the Safaricom Flex Bundles, the cheaper the rate per minute for you.