19 July 2012

Kenya: Safaricom Reviews Data Usage Policy

Safaricom has made changes to its data policy which will allow customers load data bundles easier and use the bundles for a longer period.

The policy change comes after data customers raised concerns over the short expiry period of bundles and the inability to carry over data from previous top-ups.

"Following an internal review and in an effort to continuously enhance customer experience, we have made some changes to the policy. In that regard, Data Bundles between seven days and 90 days validity are rolled over when a subscriber tops up before the expiry of the bundle," Safaricom explained in a statement.

The Telco, which controls 77 percent of the data market in Kenya, has also addressed the issue of purchasing data bundles, either through direct scratch card top-up or by visiting the Safaricom bundles page for smart phone and tablet users.

The statement clarifies that mobile users can still purchase bundles by sending the bundle price to the number 450 for SMS top-up.

"In addition, you can also send the bundle price to 544 to successfully purchase a bundle."

For other mobile devices, users asked how they could access the Safaricom bundle purchase webpage if they don't have bundles in the first place, calling for the zero-rating of this particular page.

Safaricom explains most devices have many background connections such as applications, app stores, software updates, operating system updates and antivirus updates.

"The www.safaricom.com/bundles page is zero-rated, but before you can open the bundles top-up page, your session will be terminated because any one of the background connections attempted to browse to a billed URL."

Safaricom says the current system configurations are such that when a subscriber runs out of credit their session is immediately terminated.

"This therefore means that a subscriber will be required to have at least 10 Kenya cents before they can open the page. We appreciate that this is not an optimal function, and we are working on a solution to optimize access to the top up page, as well as overall customer experience."

Addressing the issue of data expiry at an earlier tech event, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said although the data cannot be left to run 'ad infinitum' there was need to review the expiry period and terms and conditions.

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