It has been a month since Safaricom unveiled its lifestyle product dubbed Safaricom Platinum (and Safaricom Platinum plus) aimed at giving Safaricom subscribers lifestyle discounts including discounts on entertainment and events’ tickets, eateries, and on car services. The product come in five flavours where a subscriber can opt to purchase Safaricom Platinum 1K, Safaricom Platinum 2K, Safaricom Platinum 3K, or Safaricom Platinum 5K. Each of these flavours have their plus versions.
The difference between Safaricom Platinum and Safaricom Platinum Plus is the value for money, where one gets more data and more minutes on Safaricom Platinum plus compared to Safaricom Platinum of the same amount. Take tables 1 detailing the different offers on Safaricom Platinum and compare it against table 2 that details the offers on Safaricom Platinum plus
Table 1: Safaricom Platinum Plans
Table 2: Safaricom Platinum Plus Plans
|Platinum Plus Plans|
Given the sweet offers one gets on Safaricom Platinum Plus, one may wonder why anyone would opt to subscribe to the Safaricom Platinum. For example, if there are two people one on Safaricom Platinum 2K and the other person is on Safaricom Platinum Plus 2K, the person on Safaricom Platinum 2K will enjoy 200 minutes talk time and 5GB data, whereas the other person on the plus version for the same amount will enjoy 300 minutes talk time and 6GB data. So under what circumstances will you as an individual find Safaricom Platinum more interesting than the plus version?
According to information posted at the Safaricom Platinum Frequently Asked Questions web page, Safaricom Platinum is just like any other prepaid Safaricom product where subscribers can buy on the go, and it is valid for one month. It is a product available for Safaricom prepaid customers only. Safaricom Platinum Plus on the other hand is a product meant to work as a Postpaid product although it is also available for prepaid and hybrid customers too. When a prepaid customer opts for Safaricom Platinum Plus product, the customer must continue using the product until he/she opts out by visiting a nearby Safaricom retail shop. That is, Safaricom Platinum Plus is a more binding product that one cannot stop using at easily. At the end of every month, the purchased Safaricom Platinum Plus will always auto renew and the subscriber will be required to pay for the auto renewal.
These two Safaricom products sound interesting except for one thing, the data. Take for example the Platinum options that require subscribers to part with Kshs 5K and/or Kshs 10K each month. The data offers for those are 15GB and 30GB on Platinum and 25GB and 40GB on Platinum plus respectively. This contrasts sharply with SMS offers where for Platinum Plans above 1K, all users are allowed to send as many as infinite SMSes on both Platinum and Platinum Plus options.
If Safaricom offered Unlimited data on the platinum products instead, then users who are being targeted by the two products could have found them more enticing. Even though Safaricom may argue that the discounts being offered through Ticketsasa, Eat out, and Shell petrol stations are enticing enough, the value proportions on these services are not clear beforehand. For example, if you are a Platinum user and you intend to purchase a product from Shell, you’ll be required to first of all visit “Hot Deals” in MySafaricom App, select oil and quantity, is when you’ll be able to know the price you’re going to pay. After making the purchase is when you become eligible to minor service for your car that covers oil change, plug change and filters change; and can only be done on the day of the purchase of the lubricant. That is, it is not the fact that you are already subscribed to Platinum or Platinum Plus that makes you eligible to the service, but the purchase of Shell oil products by you as a Platinum user via MySafaricom App that makes you eligible. The best value proportion for you therefore would have been ability to access unlimited Internet on the go.
Safaricom could still be worried that offering unlimited Internet will make subscribers abuse the bandwidth as they did in 2010-2012 when the teleco had an unlimited Internet product in the market. However, since 2012, there have been major changes in the industry, the most important one being the emergence of 4G LTE Internet. With 4G, Safaricom could make their Platinum Internet available only through 4G bandwidth and further restrict it to Platinum customers who buy either the Platinum 5K or Platinum 10K. This is because there are very few individuals (I believe less than one million) who can afford to part with Kshs 5K and above on telecommunication services. Without the unlimited Internet, I do not find any rational reason that would convince a data centric user to part with those huge amounts of money per month in hopes that they would either buy a Shell lubricant, order food from Eat out partner restaurants, or buy tickets via Ticketsasa for some meagre discounts from those Safaricom partner merchants.