“We want to start again on a clean sheet of paper, we want to be simple, transparent and honest with our customers,” said Michael Joseph the interim Safaricom CEO, who knows the journey well as he started it nineteen years ago.
The company has announced a raft of new goodies to customers and Kenyans in general, wanting to build ‘trust’, grow and innovate. Speaking at the celebrations to mark 19 years, Mr. Joseph said the period where customers felt Safaricom is stealing from them data and airtime is now in the past.
Among the new measures is that data, SMS and airtime will no longer expire. This move just comes a day after lawyer Adrian Kamotho petitioned the Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal stating the telcos, Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya have high cost of data. He added that that the arbitrary expiry of hard-earned bundles is unfair. He wants the tribunal to order them to furnish him with their current data tariffs or prominently display the current data tariffs on their websites.
By starting a new, Safaricom is looking to ensure quicker turnaround to customer calls and physical visits to their customer care centers.
Among the new products that Mr. Joseph said was fantastic is Fuliza, which he added has exceptionally grown the company and ensured customers are not inhibited when making transactions.
Customers will be able to buy airtime of whatever value they want from as low as sh1. Mr. Joseph said this is a first in the world and they are looking to see how customers embrace it.
The company has also increased its data bundle sizes under the new plan by more than 45 percent especially for the more affordable price points of between sh1 and sh20. A customer purchasing sh5 worth of bundles will now get 10 MB with no expiry up from 7 MB that would expire in 24 hours.
In the coming weeks and months, more services will be rolled out include non-expiry SIM Cards. Currently, a SIM Card that us unused for three months is withdrawn.
There will also be discounted tarrifs for the elderly above 70 years from December, 2019.
In an interactive segment, Michael Joseph traveled the journey with the audience to the beginning. “Back in the year 2000 we started our operations with an investment of $25 million most of our decisions were largely based on instincts” he said.
He acknowledged that the journey has had its ups and downs. He mentioned Simu ya Jamii, the public pay phone they had as one of their failures as a company. He added that as they start a new, he knows they will also fail in some things, but that is the learning they earn.