Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa during the release of the company's 2019 Full Year results. The company is set to roll out Ksh20 per day smartphones.

Kenyans will be able to acquire 4G powered smartphones at Ksh20 per day soon after Safaricom Chief Executive Peter Ndegwa announced that the company is finalizing plans to roll out the phones in the Kenyan market.

While announcing the company’s 2019 financial results in April, Ndegwa announced that Safaricom had partnered with Google to enable Kenyans to acquire smartphones on credit and months later the Lipa Mdogo Mdogo initiative is almost here.

“Cost of devices should no longer be an impediment. We are launching an innovative device financing plan dubbed Lipa Mdogo Mdogo that will give customers still using feature phones an opportunity to own a 4G- enabled device by paying only Ksh20 a day,” Ndegwa said on Monday.

The offer will be available for all phones, but the daily plan could go up depending on the value of the phone.

Safaricom is seeking to grow its revenue for data, which has been on an upward trajectory in the last few years compared to voice calls.

“Democratising data implies facilitating its universal access. It requires continually working towards bridging the digital divide. Mama Mbogas are also using 4G enabled devices to send photos and videos of their produce to customers, taking orders online and delivering using boda-boda riders,” added Ndegwa in an opinion published in a local publication.

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During the release of the FY 2019 results, Safaricom announced that mobile data consumption had gone up by 35 percent due to COVID-19 movement restriction measures. The acceptance of digital channels has grown exponentially since then.

“It is an innovative way of allowing customers to get a device that they would otherwise not be able to afford. If you have an app, you can’t use it on a 2G phone,” added Ndegwa.

The rise in demand has been associated to demand on online entertainment platform like Netflix, whose traffic has grown fourfold, from 15Gbps to 60 Gbps as of April.

Safaricom estimates that it has laid 6,700 kilometeres of fiber reaching more than 300,000 homes. It has at least 5,300 base stations across the country delivering 3G and 4G mobile network to 87 percent of the population while the rest are on 2G.

The telco says it has invested more than Ksh300 billion in infrastructure over the last 10 years

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Samuel Gitonga is a senior reporter at BUSINESS TODAY. Email: [email protected]

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