Tag Archives: Opinion

Safaricom Postpaid

When I reverted to my Nokia, few things changed in the way I communicate; I am no longer online 24 hours a day, I don’t reply to emails and LinkedIn messages past five unless it is super important, I no longer reply to WhatsApp messages at 1.00 am or 5.49 am. I don’t miss any of that much, I find that I have time to have a clear mind and not having to wonder what is happening in my online circle of friends, I do miss opportunities to instagram though, there are several items I’d have loved to add to my IG, and the notes, my phone can only handle very few reminders and notes. I am the people who have to write ideas as they happen otherwise I will forget and waste a lot of time trying to remember what it is exactly I had thought of. Have you ever had a thought while having a conversation, something you wanted to tell the other party and then it disappears, then when you have gone separate ways it comes to you and you have to call them before it disappears again? I do that a lot, regardless of how mundane the topic was. I hear a good song somewhere, be it a matatu, as I walk the streets I will save it in my notes and Google it, if I like it download it… Now my Nokia cannot hold much of these reminders and I have to keep on deleting to create room for new. If you are used to a QWERTY keyboard and you have added to the auto-complete every word you use in a conversation (people have a particular way they talk, there are specific vocabulary everyone uses more often and can be identified with them) then texting is fairly fast and accurate. On the other hand trying to type a very long text except the quick “Okay, sawa sawa, I’ll be right there, I’ll be late” becomes quite tedious and the T9 dictionary does not help.

Enter Safaricom postpaid bundles

I had heard about these bundles by Safaricom for KES 1,000 and KES 2,500, but I was not interested, my credit was going towards data than anything else, blame it on the texting, chats and emails to communicate. To Nokia 1202 data is unheard of, that leaves you with calls and texts; now I have already mentioned how texting very long texts is a pain, this is where the postpaid bundles come in to save the day. I went to Safaricom shop and had my line converted from prepay to postpaid, which happened in less than 10 minutes.

Transformation: Heavy data user learns how to talk

With the background I had, most of my calls previously were to the point; no talking about the weather and small time politics, well except when talking to my grandfather, he will receive texts, read them but won’t bother replying, therefore you have to call and stories with him continue from where you last left off, so you just do not load 100 bob and call him… Here I was with these many minutes, very few texts, barely enough for a whole month and some data bundles.

The first month I would just scroll through my phonebook and call random people just so I could use up the talk time and it was getting depleted slowly, how do you use up talk time that adds up to almost a day? You can’t talk that much. I used to force it; calling people who I don’t even know why I still kept their numbers (I tend to be slow in burning bridges). Then it slowly starts growing into you, talking and making calls becomes something you don’t think through, you don’t ask yourself “what am I going to tell her (this happens only when calling the opposite sex), is it too late in the night etc etc”. I found myself replying texts with calls, well, there are some people who feel comfortable expressing themselves in texts which is impersonal to some extend (notice how you easily type haha, lol, lmao, dead with laughter, without even a semblance of the emotions those words portray? See I told you), with calls you can read the tone, “Hey Alex how are you?” “Am good Mr. M” I can read the tone and know if that good is a forced good or it is a real good good. Along the way my mom learned I was on postpaid and she started demanding I call more often, it has become more a right for her, I have to fulfill the duties of a child to a parent and know how she is keeping and now like my grandfather, calls to her are only to pick up the story/updates from where it was left off during last call.

The second month and subsequent months, calling starts coming naturally, I don’t even bother checking my balance every so often, and by the time the month ends I have exhausted all my allocated talk time.

The good; Awesome customer service

If you have tried calling customer service on prepaid you know how it gets hectic getting connected, sometimes you get disconnected, it’s like they think you are a bother or they can read your mind and know your concern isn’t worth the call, well this is different if you contact them on twitter, my queries on twitter were responded to with a call within 10 minutes which was quite impressive. Now on postpaid calls are answered so promptly you get the feeling that someone is anticipating to handle your query and keep you satisfied; that I love very much :-).

The bad; Postpaid bundles really or prepaid bundles?

Safaricom calls it postpaid or hybrid service, but according to Post-paid customers are those that are billed for their use of a carrier’s services on a monthly basis, based on either the terms of a contract or on the amount of services they have used. With Safaricom one has to pay the deposit when signing the contract, on top of that you are required to pay either the KES 1,000 or KES 2,500 depending on which contract you choose, at the beginning  of every month so that you can be allocated bundles to use that month. This to me sounds more of prepaid bundles rather than postpaid, the name postpaid was given to make people buying the bundles feel special, well the truth is we (guys on the KES 1,000 and KES 2,500) cannot afford (it doesn’t make economic sense) to be on the real postpaid service which people have to use KES 5,000 a month (you must be making big money business deals to be on this, not haggling with people who owe you that 500 bob to pay you back!). It will be therefore make more sense if the service is renames to prepaid bundles as opposed to postpaid service.

The needs improvement

It would make more sense to me if Safaricom could:

  • Actually make the service postpaid, I get to pay for what I use not what I was allocated!
  • Instead of allocating me bundles which diminish with usage, it would be great to have a quota; here if I have a quota for 500 minutes, I know that is my limit, if I get to use 300 minutes I get charged for 300 minutes and not have 200 extra minutes rolling over to the following month and still have to pay for the full 500 minutes.
  • The bundles for text messages and internet are a bit ridiculous! They are barely reasonable to keep you till the end of the month. If KES 1,000 affords you 900 On Net minutes, 100 Off Net minutes, 100 On Net SMS and 100 MBs of Data and KES 2,500 affords you 2200 On Net, 300 Off Net minutes, 250 On Net SMS and 250 MBs of Data you will agree 100 and 250 SMS’s and data for the respective postpaid bundle are ridiculously low, but what do I know, maybe they did not design this service with a person like me in mind!

What say you?


Tags: , , , , , ,

Beba Pay

It had been raining hail that Tuesday afternoon, after work my head was on how I’d get home without before the Nairobi weather decides otherwise. If you have been around the Nairobi CBD when it is pouring you know how crazy it gets, people seem to stop thinking for a moment and turn on auto pilot which in turn result in a traffic mess. I get to town at 5.30pm and head straight to where our buses are. There is some new bus which is filling up quickly because of the loud music, I board it even though the available seats are the back seats which I really hate because by the time the journey is through the trauma you undergo being thrown up down and sideways is too much.

There is this guy wearing a beba pay branded shirt and he starts telling us how he is giving away the cards for free; that is quite the opener if you know ‘Kenyans Peculiar Habits’ freebies is sure going to get you some attention mine included, never mind if the freebie is useful or not as long as it is free we will take it. Okay back to what I was saying, I decide I’ll have myself a beba card, after all in June there will be a cashless transaction system in our transport system. I could as well take on this ‘deal’.

Initial perceptions

I was excited with the prospect of not carrying cash around; it has an upper limit of five thousand Kenyan shillings only. That is exactly what I use in a month moving from the house to the office in a typical month (20 weekdays) excluding weekends. Every transaction sends you a text confirming the cost which can also act as receipt, another thumbs up. With this I decide to load it up with five hundred bob to test the card. I have to login to my gmail account while activating the card, this I am told tracks all the routes (using google maps) the card was used, I am a bit wary since I feel like big brother can access that data and easily spy on me which is both good and bad, but I won’t go into details about that now.

Subsequent observations

Having some money loaded, I was excited to use it, Wednesday morning I can’t find a bus accepting beba pay and it’s getting late, same thing happens in the evening, well not exactly there was another bus charging less (I have already told you about Kenyans and bargains). On Thursday the previous day’s scenario repeats itself.  Now I feel like I have money tied up which I cannot get back through any other way except through spending! That is not a very good feeling ey?

I believe the government wants to introduce the cashless system in order to have more accurate data for tax purposes. Here is how the card works:

  1. I load it with money using M-Pesa or equity agent;
  2. Board a “Beba Pay accepted” branded bus;
  3. The conductor uses a specialized phone with NFC technology to read the card to charge my account;
  4. The money is transferred from my account to the bus company’s account [it need not be an Equity account, they will debit the account you register with]; and
  5. I receive a text message confirming the transaction.

Brilliant! Ey? It sure is, but there are some misgivings:

  • What is the motivation towards driving the whole industry towards a cashless system? Why are there not public education forums to educate people and allow people to embrace the system?
  • Why is Equity bank the only provider supporting the cashless system? Is it a case of an early adopter/innovator or is there more than meets the eye?

→   First thing that comes to mind when I think of the cashless system is; every month I use five thousand shillings just going to and from the office from the house.

→   Assuming there are 10,000 people in my neighborhood who like myself use the same amount going to and from work in a month, and they have the Beba Card, this will translate to Equity holding a cumulative 50,000,000 shillings sweat free.

→   Now if you already load your money to this card you cannot get it back, you have to use it unlike if there was an option like “Lipa na M-Pesa” where you have your money in M-Pesa and you can use it for other needs which is more convenient and makes more sense. Of course for people who do not have M-pesa this may pose a challenge either because of not having a phone or using a different mobile subscriber.

What are your thoughts on the Beba card and the cashless transport system that the government seeks to introduce?


Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Just Random, Opinion


Tags: , , , ,