NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 30 – Safaricom has announced that it will be discontinuing the sale of all unlimited data bundle products with effect from midnight on Monday.
In a statement, Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said Safaricom made the decision to focus its energies on providing quality data access to the majority of its internet users.
“This means that we have to sacrifice the provision of our unlimited bandwidth to a minority, whose usage has had a negative impact on the overall data experience,” he explained.
The mobile operator assured customers who purchase any unlimited bundles on or before Monday that their bundles can still be used until expiration.
Affected unlimited tariffs include the daily, three-day, seven-day and 30-day bundles.
Safaricom Corporate Affairs Director Nzioka Waita said less than five percent of the company’s customer base on mobile data use unlimited bundles, however they take up significant bandwidth that has had a big impact on the quality of service for majority of users.
“The product is not profitable to the extent that the interference it causes with other uses and the uptake of other bundles. The 3G mobile broadband is a shared service; as soon as you have 10 or 15 users on the service and three or four of them are running a big torrenting service, they hog the bandwidth,” he revealed.
Safaricom has dominated the Kenyan data market with 90 percent of mobile broadband subscribers and over five million internet users, which has seen its competitors move to revamp their unlimited offerings to attract customers.
“Unlimited products currently in the market have speeds not exceeding 512 kilobits per second (kpbs). So when you get to a cap you are then lowered further to about 128 kbps and some instances 64 kbps. So, in fairness there is no operator offering truly unlimited in terms of volume and speed,” Waita said.
Waita added that there are a number of bundles for high users within the current limited bundles Safaricom offers.
“The heavy users who want unlimited bandwidth should consider moving to fixed broadband services like fibre or Wimax where they can consume as much as they want,” he said.
Safaricom reassured its data customers that it will shortly be offering new internet packages to cater for its high volume usage internet customers.