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Safaricom now entices Kenyans

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 24 – True to prediction that there’s going to be a fierce mobile phone tariff war in the market in coming weeks, Safaricom has announced a promotion that will see its subscribers call for Sh2 per minute.

Although the offer dubbed ‘Masaa Tariff’ which will run for one month depends on the value of amount of airtime topped up, it represents a 300 percent reduction from their cheapest tariff ‘Supa Ongea’ which cost Sh8 per minute for calls made within the network.

“Subscribers who buy airtime worth Sh100, Sh250, Sh500 or Sh1,000 will be able to make on-net calls at Sh2 a minute, while the off-net rate for these airtime values will be Sh3,” a statement from the operator said.

Those who purchase airtime worth Sh5 or Sh10 will talk at a flat rate of Sh5 per minute for calls terminating within and outside the Safaricom network.

“Subscribers who buy airtime worth Sh50 will now pay Sh3 a minute for both on and off-net calls while for the Sh20 denomination, the on-net rate is Sh4, while calls outside the network will cost Sh5 per minute,” outgoing Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said of the tariff where per second billing will apply.

The CEO said this was a way of rewarding their 16 million plus customers for sticking by the company in the 10 years it has been ‘an authentic Kenyan success story’ and hinted of more announcements in the future.

The tariff war among the mobile operator has been offing since last week when the Communications Commission of Kenya announced new guidelines that require the firm to lower the interconnection rates to Sh2.21 per minute.

Zain Kenya started the onslaught with the launch of a Sh3 flat call rate from Zain to all other networks. Essar Telecom followed suit a few days later with its 50 percent reduction in its cross network to Sh3.

Telkom Kenya is said to be reviewing its rates in a move that has seen the 19.9 million subscribers in the country being the biggest beneficiaries of the fierce competition.

More is still in stock for the customers as the CCK’s rules are expected to lead to a reduction in mobile termination rate to Sh0.90 in the next three years.

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The price caps imposed by commission will see the rate progressively decline by 35 percent, 25 percent and 15 percent annually in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively.

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