The Monster that is Safaricom

It’s only yesterday that I realised just how much I spend on bundles when browsing with my phone.

It seems Safaricom use the ‘Exploit fully before competitors come calling’ strategy when selling data and also through its exorbitant mpesa service.

You know, I suspect that these guys just sit and down and say ‘ well this financial year, we’ve got to make 20 billion in profits, so lets work out the maths in terms of how we will screw the customers and achieve this target’.

But this party will not last; i may not be an expert on information technology but I am sure as time goes, Kenya will enjoy better and cheaper internet services from new players .

The ‘problem’ with the Kenyan market is that it isn’t just big enough to satiate the greed of these Companies.

For example, even with the best of services and products, you just can’t dream of opening a company that will eventually have revenues of 700 billion. It’s just not possible even if you’ve managed to commercialise oxygen.

In a market like China, you can dream of having 40 million clients each spending $100 with your company per year. The Kenyan market is not big enough to make a company start of dreaming of super profits- unless, like Safaricom, the Company plans to totally exploit the customers.


Umedinya point hapo I even wounder do we buy bundles ama they are leased to us? Y should I be limited and told what and when to use the product I have bought?

At the time when I bought my first phone, Safaricom had a ridiculous tariff called jambo, where you had to pay 28bob daily access fee in order to enjoy low calling rates of 16bob a minute. Then there was some other tariff (sasa or something) which had a call setup fee of 2.50 for every call you made, at that time being charged at 8.00. Then came some other tariff called sijui shuka shuka tariff, where you had to talk for 4 minutes straight to enjoy sijui 50% call rate, bla bla bla, talk for eight minutes straight and enjoy rates of 80cents per minute (are you fckin kidding me!).

Somehow they got away with it coz the opposition (err, I mean the competition) were not innovative and only relied on smear campaign (like they do in US elections) and knee jerk reactions to whenever Safaricom introduced a new product. And safaricom knowing Kenyans and their notorious hatuhami attitude knew they had the market under lock and key when they introduced Mpesa

1 Like

kenyans not leaving safaricom si ujinga, the competition just doesn’t get it. juzi I bought a new airtel line kama nimesahau why i stopped using the last one, leo airtel have kept calling and texting me for info. and promotions. when you block one no. another calls you.


Oh, and i forgot ranting about bonga points:
I believe a 100 shillings airtime earns one 10 bonga points.

Now, the Safaricon guys are offering a Samsung Grand Neo Plus phone for 55, 000 Bonga Points.

So, how much airtime do you need to load in order to earn 55,000 points?

Let me travel back in time and recall the maths I was taught in class six or seven:

If 100 shillings equal 10 bonga points, how much will earn 55,000 bonga points


Let the amount be Y

100 KES = 10 points

Y = 55,000 points

What is the value of Y?

If memory serves me right, we will cross multiply:


10Y= 5,500,000

Y= 5,500,000/10

= 550,000 KES

Safaricom are truly thieves.

There is nothing like ‘free’ bonga points. If 100 shillings earn you 10 bonga points, it simply means that if you redeem the 10 points for 2 shillings airtime, it is already covered in the 100 shillings that you’ve spent. Its simple: once you buy airtime of 100 bob, you’ll use 98 shillings and the 2 remaining shillings are stored for you in form of bonga points. Silly marketing gimmick.

So, if you have used 550,000 KES in terms of airtime, it means that safaricom has stored for you 11,100 KES which they then give you for ‘free’ in terms of a phone.


We all hate safcom but were hooked.

Sure, Safaricom largely succeeded because there was no serious competition and not because of innovation. I also believe that the very initial marketing strategy- Safaricom’s ‘per second billing’ versus Kencell’s ‘per minute billing’ -was a market changer, in favor of Safaricom. The constant change of owners/rebranding of the original Kencell turned Celtel turned i dont know what really gave Safaricom the upper hand and, of course, Mpesa cemented Safaricom’s monopolistic market position.

1 Like

Yea, we shud speed up this EAC thing and do away with barriers to trade…that we will will have a wider market interms of increased economies of trade

rem them days and we neither realized nor complained about the offers, na wengi wetu tulikuwa msoto but still made fone calls…makes me wonder how a disadvantaged fellow would opt to use the only 50 bob in his possession to buy credit instead of food
internet was pricey too, expensive and bogus speeds

Why cant we just have a de jure monopoly that is 100% state owned in the telecom sector? What role does competition play in sectors such as telecommunication?

poppy should just pray he never meets me armed with a sharp razor in a dark alley. he will otherwise go home neutered.

and on another note- am using their modem because the other network upgraded and declared my modem obsolete, and had to pay 600 KeShs to remain their customer. Nikasema wacha ikae.
Problem now when I buy bundles from poppy they come with what they call night bundles. Come 10 pm and the system switches itself from the reasonable WCDMA to the shitty EDGE and HSPA and therefore i have loads of the night bundles that will surely expire

God give us an alternative fast!

1 Like

nilihama kitamboooooo!..airtell sio mbayaaa vileeeee!

Airtel sio mbaya bt am using unliminet monthly package, the speeds are bogus and frustrating! Streaming stuff is really tidious and annoying I barely finish my 2GB cz I can’t use it the way I want to so I basically do lite stuff!

Karl Marx buana wotiss. Hesabu raisi namna hii. If 100shillings = 10points, then each point is worth 10bob. 55,000 points = 550000
Mambo ya cros.matiplkeson nainglia wapi yaye?


By the way @agik hiyo simu yako ilikuwa gani kati ya hizi


Woi hapo hata yangu hakuna…my 1st two…alcatel db something, nyumba then Siemens ka blue the Nokia 3330!

My exact scenario bwana. Imagine I have to stay up till 10 ndio nitumie hizo ‘free’ bundles. Na hiyo saa ikifika, internet speeds mysteriously go down ghafla bin vu! Meanwhile, orange upgraded me to a 3g network that is not even available where I am, nkt!!:mad:

Hii yako ni hujuma. call customer care, give them a piece of your liver (your mind is too precious) and opt out of that. I’ve had an airtel line for over 10years now and I don’t get such.

The market was rigged in favor of Safaricom right from day one. Safaricom started off as a subsidiary of Telkom Kenya. The first batch of mobile phones were mostly used to call landlines, all of which belonged to Telkom. Safaricom priced its calling rates in a manner that made calling Telkom landlines from a Celtel line punitive. This was the one move that ensured they dominated the market. If regulators had intervened then, we would not be talking of a monopoly. When mobile phones became established widely enough for mobile to mobile communication, it was cheaper to make Celtel to Celtel calls than Safaricom to Safaricom calls. Despite this pricing advantage on the part of Celtel, again Safaricom made it prohibitive to call Safaricom lines from Celtel. Given that Safaricom lines were more numerous than Celtel lines, this pricing left Celtel at a disadvantage. Celtel was mainly favored by businesses for inside communication. In short, the regulators slept on the job to ensure that the bigger scheme of benefiting Mobitelea succeeded.


Haha…sure. But i just loved those cross-multiplication maths. ’ If 10 cows produce 100 litres of milk, how much milk will 35 cows produce?