Safaricom has always lauded its data connection speeds and robust coverage, and this has been backed up by the operator and the ICT regulator CA. The carrier has been on the top of the game for an extended period now, and according to constant statements, it should be availing LTE coverage to all urban centres in the country before the year elapses.
Nevertheless, there have been cases about how customers can’t track their data usage patterns, which has, from time to time, culminated in a series of complaints on social media about ‘lost’ bundles. The company has tried to communicate to customers about data tracking in the past, but it would appear that some customers have issues following up about which app and service are using their data plans, and how they can establish that the bundles were actually consumed by the said services.
Another part of the issue is that data plans are consumed faster than expected, which, in theory, and practice, is not true. However, and for transparency reasons, the operator is looking forward to addressing this issue with a new product, which it hopes should eliminate all doubt and mistrust about unexplained data usage patterns.
To this end, Safaricom has for the last couple of days, been trying to make sure that customers are able to see where their data bundles, as well as airtime, go. Some users have already caught a glimpse of the development, mainly through the link attached to the data balance query via SMS.
This is a new feature, and as you have guessed, it is here to foster transparency and to ensure that you do not fault the operator for having consumed your data and airtime balances miraculously.
With that in mind, let’s see how you can access your data statement, and what you can do with that information.
- Dial *544# from your handset and request for your data balance.
- You will receive an SMS with that information, and a link to your account all served with many insights.
- Click on the link (make sure you are using Safaricom mobile data because the whole process would want to authenticate the request via your line)
- Upon arriving at the page, you will see a detailed report of your data and airtime usage.
The SMS confirmation looks like this, and you can see the link attached in it. Click it to proceed.
The home page basically has two tabs, one for Data Usage and another one for Airtime Usage.
You can filter your data usage using dates so you can visualize which apps and services have been using, and how much data they have consumed. In the attached screenshot, which is just for the day, I can see that Google Search and Chrome are at the top of the list (ignore the meager bundles used, could be different for another person).
Additional details include per-app use cases, such as usage instance for an app like YouTube.
The cases above can be accessed by clicking the downward arrow, which expands details about the app or service in use. Clicking on Facebook, for instance, would give more info, such as the platform being a social media app. The details button next to it adds more details, such as the the data consumed by the app on a given day, and at what time instance.
The same usage pattern can be visualized for airtime usage. The reporting can be filtered too via date. Also, you can check additional details such as airtime consumption based on a given call.
As said, you can even check who you called and how much the call cost:
Lastly, you should remember to activate your Data Manager from the portal. This stops airtime consumption in case your data plan has been exhausted. Also, it warns you when your data bundle is under 2 MBs.
This is the first time that we have seen the operators demonstrate to customers about their data and airtime usage in the name of promoting transparency. The feature does not just inform you about the patterns; it can tell you which apps are data hogs (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or any other app that plays video media, name them), so you can use them carefully if you are wary of exhausting your plan.
It should also be noted that whatever Safaricom is doing here is not entirely new because such a feature is natively baked in the operating system of our phones. However, Safaricom has taken an extra step to see you access the same information in just a click.
Is this a feature you can use if you have been having issues tracking usage?
Lastly, Safaricom is awarding customers 200 MB of data for customers using the service for the first time. The bundles are valid for 24 hours, and are here on a promotional basis.