While internet companies, especially mobile carriers have done a good job in pushing internet penetration and adoption numbers, a good number of Kenyans do not have access to internet services and have since limited their phone use to feature phones that support 2G networks. Mostly, this demographic makes voice calls, send SMSes, and transact using mobile money services.
During today’s 2019/2020 FY financial announcement by Safaricom, CEO Peter Ndegwa reiterated that a large population is still locked to 2G phones, citing tough economic environment as the main reason such folks can’t afford smart devices.
To this end, the carrier wants to bridge this gap with a device financing program named Lipa Mdogo Mdogo.
The campaign will be conducted alongside Google and Teleone.
The targeted customer is one who earns wages on a daily basis. He or she can acquire a device of their choice, and make daily installments of as low as KES 20 while surfing the internet on an LTE network.
The Lipa Mdogo Mdogo campaign will be launched before the end of June. At the moment, it is under a pilot with the said partners.
For the moment, we can only guess which kind of devices will be distributed. Since this is a low-cost program, we expect Android Go smartphones that run a Lite version of Google’s operating system, hence the Go moniker.
Safaricom already sells NEON-branded smartphones at a steal. Whether the company will bring in more models to serve the promotion is something we will learn in due course.
The carrier’s network is currently being accessed by 6.1 million 4G-capable devices.
“Smartphone device is critical in supporting the new realities brought about by COVID-19. This proposition aims to support Kenyans during and beyond this pandemic by enabling them access more opportunities, be it learning, working or running businesses from the comfort of their homes,” said Ndegwa.
“In Kenya approximately 60% of the mobile phone install base is still on 2G feature phones and 40% smartphones with key barriers to people coming online being device and data affordability. We believe that this collaboration with Safaricom will bring more Kenyans access and the means to partake in the opportunities that exist online,” says Mariama Abdullahi, Director, Android, and Platforms Partnerships for Africa.