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October 17, 2018

Will Jamii Telecom live up to its promise to shake the market?

Jamii Telecom field engineers service one of the fibre cables along Kimathi street in Nairobi on November 17 /ENOS TECHE
Jamii Telecom field engineers service one of the fibre cables along Kimathi street in Nairobi on November 17 /ENOS TECHE

 Pricing dynamics for data and voice services offered by mobile operators are likely to be shaken up in the coming months following the entry of Jamii Telecom as a 4th operator.

The internet service provider, commonly known for internet connectivity in homes and businesses, officially entered the mobile market on Tuesday evening with its Faiba 4G mobile network, after a year-long of trials.

However to the disadvantage of many, the network will only be available in Nairobi and its environs, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret, with plans to roll-out nationally ongoing.

Their entry comes six months after its 700MHz frequency license issued in September last year by the Communication authority to test the 4G network was under scrutiny from other service providers on claims that it was unfairly given out.

According to the telcom chief executive Joshua chepkwony, their entrance is likely to see a shake-up of the mobile service market due to its pricing model that has taken many Kenyans by surprise.

“Mobile devices, especially the mobile phone, have become the dominant channels through which consumers get information; they need to do business or organize their lives on the go. We are responding to this reality with efficient and competitively priced services,” Chepkwony said.

Widely known as Faiba, the telco’s new network follows a Sh2.5 billion investment into its infrastructure and services that include mobile internet.

Statistics show that its data bundles will be 10 times cheaper than those of the current market leader, Safaricom, while on the other hand, its voice service for on-net calls will be free as it leverages on internet connectivity for revenues.

Compared to Safaricom and Airtel, Jamii offers one gigabyte (1GB) for Sh50 while Safaricom offers the same for Sh499 a month. Airtel offers 1GB for Sh99.

Jamii offers 8GB for Sh300 and up to 210GB for Sh6, 000 while Safaricom charges Sh 1,999 for 7.5 GB and Sh 2,999 for 12GB.

On the other hand, Airtel offers 10GB for Sh1,500 and 15GB for Sh2,000.

While Airtel has unliminet bundles that gives customers 4GB of data, 10,000 short messages and 1,200 minutes of talk time to Airtel to Airtel talk time and other networks for Sh2,000, Jamii Telecom which has three tariffs namely Kifaru, Ndovu and Simba will offer 2GB, 200 minutes and 200 SMS for Ndovu tarrif.

Kifaru users will have to part with Sh1, 500 per month and get 1GB per day mobile data, 200 hundred call minutes and 200 SMS while Simba users will have 3GB daily data bundles and pay Sh4, 000 monthly.

While speaking to the Star, Safaricom director of corporate affairs Steve Chege said the entry of Jamii Telecom is not a cause for them to worry as they welcome competition.

“A lot of competitors actually ride on Safaricom network to reach their customers. With this, we welcome competition as it will help us better our services,” Chege said, noting that they invest upto Sh30 billion annually on network expansions and upgrade.

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