50,000 Safaricom customers have so far acquired a 4G phone under Lipa Mdogo Mdogo scheme

Safaricom has announced that about 50,000 of its customers, previously without a smartphone have now acquired a 4G capable device under the Lipa Mdogo Mdogo initiative. This comes as Kenya’s largest mobile service provider looks to increase data revenues across its subscriber base. According to the reports we have from the telco, the devices were acquired sometime between July 28th 2020 and end of September, amounting to about 769 devices acquired on a daily basis.

In the ambitious initiative that also involved Google, the telco is seeking to have roughly 4 million subscribers on dated 2G devices converted to the reliable and faster 4G capable smartphones. According to the provider, subscriber switch to 4G devices will come in handy, especially in mitigating the sluggish voice growth. Voice has faced a downward spiral from the provider, which is now focusing on other services such as MPESA mobile money services and data to drive future growths.

Speaking on the progress, Safaricom’s Chief Customer Officer Sylvia Mulinge said they were excited on hearing the results and were on track to test customer behavior on uptake and repayment. Announcing the figures, Sylvia said that about 50,000 customers had opted into the arrangement across their dealer network.  

In the arrangement, Safaricom customers who have been on the network for at least a year but do not have a 4G smartphone can signup for a brand new 4G capable device for only Kshs.20 a day. Additionally, customers must have a clean sheet with relevant credit reference bureaus – meaning; not be blacklisted by any financial institution for loan default.

Customers can choose to pay on a daily basis, weekly basis or even make full payment, but will receive at least 3 text messages reminding them to pay. In case a subscriber fails to make a payment as expected for four consecutive days, the phone is automatically locked, and those who fail for a week are barred from all outgoing calls and text messages.

But for those who default for a whole month, they are automatically blacklisted, restricted from any other device loan and their details forwarded to credit reference bureaus. Its not yet clear on the number of defaults considering this period has been marred with difficult times economically on many Kenyans. At the moment, Safaricom has disclosed that about half of its staggering 38.14 million subscribers are still using 2G mobile devices.

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