Erik: Yes Safaricom is Wrong, But Your Are Also Very Wrong
When Erik Hershman ranted on his blog, most of it ignorantly and some of it with valid concern, I decided to remember what I have been complaining about to Bob Collymore and other Safaricom officials.
Just a brief of what Erik was complaining about. This is not the first time Erik has raised this. It is an issue he has raised since 2010 if I can correctly remember. Erik’s beef has been first with the issue that Safaricom’s data bundle expire and disappear into thin air if not used within a certain period of time. This is not true as bundles are rolled over when a new purchase is activated.
Secondly Erik complained that he was not getting through to 450 through SMS and is forced to use *450# meaning he has to get the modem on to a phone and activate using the USSD option. This is also a testimony of how Kenyan based techies have not looked beyond Safaricom for solutions. I just tested 450 and it is working. I am not using Safaricom because it has no unlimited offering. I am oscillating between Orange and Airtel for various reasons.
On computer, I use the Airtel branded app since it enables you to use both USSD and SMS without removing the SIM card and placing on phone. So whether I am using Orange, Airtel or Safaricom, I will go through the Airtel Windows native app.
On zero-rating of Safaricom URLs, I totally agree with Erik. This is where Orange leads. Whether you have credit or not, the sub-domain “myaccount” on orange.co.ke is zero rated allowing you to login to your account, CDMA or GSM, and load your line and purchase bundles. I use Orange on my iPad and iPhone and love the speeds.
The major issue I have with Safaricom is the fraudulent way in which they handle the so-called “post-paid” users. Sometime in 2011, Safaricom ran promotions for the “Karibu Post-Pay” bundles. I checked on the promotions and loved the idea even though I later realised that these are pre-paid tariffs marketed as post-paid.
So I chose the Postpay2500 which also gave me the option of buying a new Nokia N8 with the bundle. The phone was great the and todate, I have not seen a phone with such a powerful camera for both video and still. I have used iPhone 4S, HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S2 and S3 and none of them matches the quality of my Nokia N8 recordings.
With Ksh 4,300 per month for 24 months, I was able to buy the Nokia N8 and get Ksh 2,500 usage on my phone. You can check the allocation here http://safaricom.co.ke/index.php?id=1275. Later I lost the phone and in May 2012, I decided to go and clear the bill and return to normal post-paid. With Ksh 2,500 I am able to get 2,200 on-net voice minutes and 300 off-net. I am also able to get 250 SMS, 250MB data and 250 bonga points.
After using it for a while, I realised that I use more MB of data than voice. So in a month, I only use 100-200 voice minutes out of the allocated 2,500 (on-net and off-net) but around 2GB of data on mobile. SO what I needed what not a voice biased tariff but a data biased tariff. I have sent private messages to Bob Collymore personally, emailed him and copied other Safaricom honchos and engaged him on social media on this. I have even done a blog post. All these have not borne any fruit.
In May 2012, I decided to terminate the tariff and go back to either pre-paid or normal post-paid. First, there is no procedure for terminating this contract. I pushed really hard and two very senior Safaricom executives informed me that I could terminate the contract by sending an email initiating the termination and then I would be informed of the penalties of my decision to terminate the contract early. There is no standard penalty and it is up to Safaricom to guess the fee and charge it to your account.
Again after writing the letter initiating the termination, you will not be able to reverse this. Third, you will lose all your unused bundles. Same complaint Erik had but at a different level. So currently I have not used 28,316 on-net minutes, 513 SMS, 3,568 off-net minutes and 1,298MB of data. If I decide to move to post-paid or pre-paid, I will have to prepare to lose them. Now that is almost Ksh 42,000 unused which Safaricom is going to steal from me.
I started using the postpay2500 in April 2011 meaning that I have used it for 16 months. 16 x 2,200 = 35,200 on-net minutes. And I have 28,316 on-net minutes unused. Meaning that in over 16 months, I have used only 6,884 of the allocated on-net minutes. So with 28,000 on-net minutes allocation, I need not to pay Safaricom anything for more than 4 years. But Safaricom still charges me expensively and just wont let me transfer my remaining bundle to a convenient tariff.
Now that is theft. Again just for Erik, please stop relying on CCK data. It just makes not much sense. Safaricom, Orange, Airtel are all companies you can easily access their data. Just do a random check of data submitted for their financials and those submitted for CCK. One or two of the operators grossly exaggerate their returns.