Kenya: Safaricom Cuts Internet Charges By 42%

A Safaricom user (file photo).

Safaricom has cut its data prices by 42 percent in response to increased competition in the telecommunications industry, as South Africa-based shareholder Vodacom revealed in recent filings that the Kenyan unit made the largest cuts.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm offers a wide array of internet service and billing plans but its effective price per Megabyte (MB) fell 42 percent in the year ended March, according to disclosures by Vodacom.

Safaricom was among a group of Vodacom associates and subsidiaries that reduced their data charges.

Vodacom's operations in DR Congo lowered data charges by 29.2 percent, followed by Lesotho (28.9 percent), South Africa (23.3 percent) and Tanzania (13.8 percent) in the review.

The multinational says it anticipates further price cuts, noting that they are being driven by a mix of regulatory and competitive pressures.

"In the context of our commitment to drive digital inclusion, and given the tough consumer environment, we recognise the imperative to further lower data prices in some of our markets, while ensuring that this does not compromise our ability to make the investments in network and IT infrastructure needed to broaden service delivery and maintain high quality offerings," Vodacom says in the report.

Safaricom offers a broad range of data bundles including daily, weekly and monthly packages, some of which also come with limited voice and messaging services.

Some of its data charges per MB are between Sh0.12 and Sh0.2, matching or rivalling those offered by Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya, which plan to merge their operations.

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