Monday, April 30, 2012

Safaricom cuts sale of unlimited Internet

Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore. Photo/FILE

Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore. Photo/FILE 


Safaricom has cut unlimited mobile data services to the detriment of heavy Internet users on its network.

The mobile service provider on Monday announced that it will discontinue the sale of unlimited mobile data bundles. However, the firm announced that it may focus its energies on fixed data.

“It has always been our position that unlimited Internet offerings are better suited for a fixed broadband service,” said Safaricom CEO Mr Bob Collymore in a press statement.

Unlimited data bundles allow users of 3G-enabled handsets and modems to access the Internet for a set duration of time at a fixed price.

Safaricom has seen the service turn into a loss-making venture as subscribers download heavy volumes of data degrading services across the network. Service degradation is not as evident on fixed network.

Telecoms are positioning themselves to take advantage of the data market as voice revenues begin to decline. In February, Telkom Orange launched unlimited data while Airtel reintroduced its unlimited monthly data package.

Analysts say that users may move from Safaricom into these networks or look into cheaper offerings in fixed data.

“We might see movement of heavy data users to companies that offer fixed data services,” said telecom market analyst Mr Eric Musau.

By offering high customers high volume packages, Safaricom will be countering this migration. Data released by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) indicates fixed Internet subscriptions grew by 67 per cent in the second quarter 2011/2012.