Competition for customers in the telecoms industry intensified Monday after Kenya’s second biggest player, Airtel, slashed the cost of data by up to 95 percent in the latest launch of new data tariffs that are set to bring stiff competition to Safaricom’s #ticker:SCOM recently-launched no-expiry internet packages.
Airtel Kenya’s latest tariff will see customers pay a flat rate of Sh1 for 5MB (megabytes) down from the normal Sh4.3 for every MB used. The latest tariff that includes a Sh2 calling rate per minute to all networks comes about a month after Safaricom launched its no-expiry data packages and new call rates that cost subscribers Sh2.86 for 60 seconds of talk time across all networks.
Airtel’s new tariff, dubbed BeSureNaAirtel, requires customers to activate the package that is priced cheaper especially to subscribers buying smaller units as they get more data than those on Safaricom.
However, cost of internet matches after a Sh50 spend.
For instance, Airtel’s Sh50 will earn a user 250MB while a Safaricom’s customer will get 175 MB, but Sh55 will earn buyers on both networks 275MB of data. Safaricom’s clients not under any data plan are currently charged Sh4.3 per MB.
“We are pleased to introduce the industry’s best no-expiry rates for data and voice to all our customers. We have also revamped our Amazing data bundles to cater for our heavy data users by offering up to 100 percent more data,” said Airtel Kenya MD Prasanta Das Sarma during the launch.
“These new offerings are based on emerging consumer insights and trends that show a substantial increase in data usage for both social and business needs as well as the need for customers to not worry about the cost of data while browsing.”
The telco, additionally, reviewed the Amazing bundles in a move that will see high-internet-spenders get more data for the same value.
Customers, for instance, will buy 3GB for Sh300 up from 1.5GB; 5GB for Sh500 up from 4GB and 12GB for Sh1,000 up from 10GB with 30 days validity, making the packages cheaper than Safaricom’s as was before the latter introduced its new tariffs. Safaricom high data spenders pay Sh2,000 for 15 gigabytes (GB) on the 30-day expiry tariff and 10GB on the new tariff.
Airtel’s is seen as a counter move following Safaricom’s introduction of a new voice and data tariff in mid-October that cut peak time call costs by a third – or Sh1.44 a minute – and also gave subscribers a chance to buy internet bundles without expiry date in changes aimed at curbing rival Airtel’s market share growth.
Safaricom subscribers opting for the no-expiry tariff plan get an extra 50 percent airtime, a change that cost subscribers Sh2.86 for a minute of talk time across all networks, down from Sh4.30 a minute, a 33 percent drop.
Airtel, which is awaiting regulatory approval to merge with Telkom Kenya, said the new rates were part of its commitment to continually invest in bringing more innovative products and services and enhance its network coverage.
Mr Sarma expressed his confidence that the new rates and revamped bundles will meet all the communication needs of Airtel’s customers even with as low airtime balance.
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