In Summary
  • Did Safaricom jump in order to pre-empt an anticipated push from the local courts?
  • In Ghana, the judiciary had just ruled that mobile operators should not expire data bundles. Locally, there are several pending suits to be heard and determined on the same issue.
  • The competitors Airtel and Telkom Kenya are now being challenged to avoid expiring their bundles.
  • We are indeed living in interesting times as far as developments in the Telco industry is concerned.

Last week Safaricom made a bold move and announced the 'no-expiry data' tariff plans – contrary to global practice in the mobile data service provision.

In some earlier blog, I had argued that mobile operators do need to have expiry dates on their tariff plans in order to better make financial as well network congestion projections.

So it did come as a shock to discover that Safaricom was willing to throw away the standard old practice of expiring Internet data bundles. This got me wondering about what could be the rationale and game plan unfolding in the telco sector.

In Ghana, the judiciary had just ruled that mobile operators should not expire data bundles. Locally, there are several pending suits to be heard and determined on the same issue.

Did Safaricom jump in order to pre-empt an anticipated push from the local courts?

Of course the CEO does not agree and has said as much on local media, explaining that they are simply rebranding in line with their new commitment to be simple, transparent and honest.

Being the sceptic I am, by virtue of my training as an academic, I sought to find out by myself by comparing the tariffs offered for expiring data bundles with those that do not.

Its was a bit difficult to get a one-to-one comparison since the tariff structure for expiring data bundles varies greatly depending on size and expiry time.

NOTABLE COMPARISON

However, some notable comparisons included the fact that if you spend Sh99 for bundles that expire within a day, you will get 1,000MB (1GB) of data bundles compared to 495MB (0.5GB) of data with no expiry date.

This being the case, it does look like non-expiry of data comes at a cost – you potentially lose 50 percent of your data bundle if you opt to not expire bundles.

However, this rule does not seem to hold at the more expensive, high-end data bundles range.

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