Kenya: Safaricom Considering Lowering Data Tariffs Amid Schools, Office Shutdowns

Nairobi — Safaricom says it is considering lowering data tariffs for students and employees working from home, following a government directive on social distancing to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The telco's Chief Customer Officer Sylvia Mulinge says they have been approached by a section of learning and corporate institutions to lower their internet costs.

" Organizations such as learning institutions, universities have come and they have said students are learning from home and requesting reduced chargers which we are looking at which will enable learning at this time when most of us are staying at home," said Mulinge.

Apart from shutting down schools and public offices, President Uhuru Kenyatta also urged private sector players to allow their workers to work from home to curb the coronavirus pandemic that has now claimed more than 21,000 lives globally.

"There are certain companies that have also reached out to us who are requesting us to look at their mobile data rates which will enable people to continue working from home," she added.

Her sentiments come days after the President signed an agreement allowing Google Loon balloons to access the Kenyan airspace to enhance 4G network coverage, which would allow teachers and students to access learning services.

"This is to enable Kenyans access internet as they work from home during this crisis," he said early this week.

The government already asked all its employees to work from home asking private companies to do the same with their staffers.

Safaricom also doubled the bandwidth offered to home fiber customers at no extra costs to customers for a period of ninety days.

Several employers sent their staffers home following the government's request, to minimize the spread of the virus that has so far affected 28 individuals in Kenya.

Companies like Safaricom said over 95 percent of its workforce has been asked to work from home.

Microsoft also offered its Microsoft Teams collaboration platform, for free, to companies to make remote working possible.

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