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Mobile firms lower prices after Budget

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – Mobile phone handset distributors and manufacturers have re-assured consumers that they will pass on the benefits of the VAT exemption announced in last week’s budget presentation.

Safaricom Chief Commercial Officer Peter Arina said on Monday that contrary to fears from some quarters that VAT exemption would not bring down prices, handsets prices would immediately reflect the 16 percent exemption.

“The exemption was immediately from midnight (last Thursday), so technically in our shops on Friday morning our prices had actually come down,” Mr Arina said.

Nokia Marketing Manager Regina Karani also said the mobile phone manufacturer had already complied.

“Same case applies to our distributors (who) have basically put down their prices as well,” Ms Karani said

Meanwhile Safaricom subscribers can now watch satellite TV company DSTV’s programs from certain Nokia mobile phones.

General Manager for Digital Mobile Television (DMTV) Kenya Felix Kyango said this followed the signing of a partnership between Safaricom, Nokia and DMTV that will enable the subscribers to access the service on certain Nokia phones.

The service will enable subscribers to access the service, dubbed DStv Mobile, through Digital Video Broadcast Handheld (DVB-H)-enabled Nokia phones.  

To receive the service Safaricom subscribers will be required to have a Nokia handset specially configured to receive DVB-H broadcasts and programmed for that purpose in Kenya.

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“Activating the handsets would be easy because unlike the past when subscribers had to get a special SIM card, this time they only needed to buy a DVB-H capable handset and insert their usual SIM card to activate the service,” said Mr Arina.

He explained that upon purchase of an enabled handset one will enjoy the services for a year without paying a fee until the end of April next year.

Mr Kyango said coverage is currently available in Nairobi and Mombasa with plans underway to extend this to other parts of the country.

“In the near futures we further intend to provide the service to other countries in the East African Region and consequently Africa as a whole,” Mr Kyango stated.

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