23 October 2018

Kenya: Airtel, Telkom Succumb Increasing Internet and Call Charges

Kenya's second and third largest telcos, Airtel and Telkom, have succumbed to taxation pressure increasing their mobile services tariffs.

The telcos say they have been forced to increase the charges due to the recent increments in excise duty and other taxes.

"In view of the recent increase in excise duty, other taxes and rising input costs, we are constrained to increase our headline voice and data tariffs by 30 cents each and our SMS tariff by 10 cents effective from midnight tonight," read a statement from Airtel Managing Director Prasanta Das Sarma.

Telkom Chief Executive Officer, Aldo Mareuse, said, "The assent of the Finance Act 2018 into Law has resulted in the review of taxes that affect our services to you. More specifically, Excise Duty tax on Voice, SMS and Internet Data services, has been reviewed to a rate of 15%, up from 10%."

Safaricom was the first to hike charges issuing a statement on Wednesday last week.

"While we remain committed to delivering great value to Kenyans, recent changes to taxes affecting our services were passed through the Finance Act 2018. We have since then been undertaking an extensive engagement with the government on the impact, timing and exact nature of services that these taxes will affect," read the statement by Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.

Airtel says that despite this increase, the prices of all voice and data bundles including Unliminet, Tubonge and Amazing Data bundles remain unchanged.

"Additionally, there will be no increase in our Airtel Money tariffs. We will continue in our endeavour to ensure that our customers receive the best value for their money on telecommunications services across the country."

Telkom said: Effective midnight, Tuesday, October 23, 2018, our headline prices for Mobile Prepaid Voice and SMS will increase by 30 cents and 10 cents respectively. This translates to a revision of our costs as follows: Off-net calls at KSh3.30cts per minute, on-net calls at KSh2.30cts per minute and SMS (any-net) at KSh1.10cts per SMS. In addition, our Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) price for Mobile Data will also see an increase of 30 cents per MB; this translates to a new Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) price of KSh4.30cts. However, Mobile Data Bundle prices will not be affected."

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