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Communications Authority set to reduce cost of making calls to different networks in Kenya

Kenya’s telecoms regulator – The Communications Authority of Kenya is set to reduce mobile termination fees that service providers charge customers when making calls to a different network. This basically means that Kenyans will soon start making calls between networks at a much lower rate than it was previously. According to the regulator, a change in mobile technology has made it efficient to initiate calls from a different network to a different provider within the country.

In a public notice issued yesterday, the country’s regulator acknowledged that a shift in time has impacted changes in the microeconomic environment, therefore necessitating a review of telecommunication interconnection rates based on a benchmarking technology.

According to recent industry data covering the telecommunications sector, the interconnectivity rates have been coming down compared 10 years ago. Data shows that it cost Kenyans Ksh 4.42 to make calls to different networks back in 2011 compared to today which only attracts Ksh 0.99. the Authority will review the current rates, making it the first time it has done so since 2015.

Going with recent rate wars amongst service providers, this move is set to make the stakes even higher, allowing subscribers to make calls to different networks at even lower rates. CA says it was about time to review the rates since they’ve had adequate time to prevail. The termination rates are particularly not favorable to small operators as customers are more likely to spend more time calling other networks instead of its own.

Subscribers are currently grappling with effects of moving the tax rates from 16 percent to 20 percent and this move will most likely reprieve them from already expensive rates.

How much local providers are charging to make calls to other networks

Currently, Airtel Kenya charges its subscribers Ksh 2.78 to make calls to other networks per minute while Safaricom and Telkom charge Sh4.87 per minute and Sh4.30 to call rival networks respectively. With the new rates, local providers like Telkom Kenya and Airtel are expected to be the main beneficiaries from the plan, as well as consumers.

Safaricom now wants to hide customer contact details from merchants to protect their privacy

While MPESA service may be deemed as revolutionary in the financial sector, the service has had it’s own fair amount of challenges, especially when it comes to protecting customer details. Currently, when a customer transacts through any of the MPESA merchant services such as Lipa na MPESA or using a Till number, their contact details are shared with the merchant who then can proceed to share these details with any other third party such as customer feedback firms.

These third parties range from genuine firms such as customer feedback firms to those with ill motives who may decide to enroll customers to various services such as for political use. To counter these activities, Safaricom is now looking to hide contact details of MPESA users from merchants altogether. The mobile service provider intents to achieve this by hiding inner digits of the transacting phone number.

According to the information we have, Safaricom will unveil this functionality to prevent various merchants from sharing customer contact details with fraudsters or advertisers. Instead of showing the entire phone number to merchants who use Lipa na MPESA, the telco will only show the first and last few digits effectively making them useless to third parties.

This is the same way most banks in the country operate, they don’t just give out full customer details when they pay for goods or services using their platforms. As of now, Kenyans have increasingly been facing so many unsolicited advertising text messages. It’s believed that some merchants share contact details with third parties who then proceed to enroll customers to various advertising services.

With the introduction of data protection law, merchants are not allowed to share customer details without their consent, but they do so anyway. According to a recent survey done by consultancy Ernst & Young (EY), 41 percent of firms transferred their clients’ data to third-party service providers.

Kenya Airways plans to charge drone owners, Ksh 180,000 for a course to obtain remote pilot license

Drone regulations in Kenya have come a long way, but there remains some key hinderances to proper laws and requirements for someone to own and operate an unmanned aircraft in the country. Some of the requirements involves operators obtaining a license which according to latest reports we have from the official country carrier KQ is Ksh 180,000. The airline plans to offer a course to aspiring pilots that will take a period of one month for Ksh 180,000.

The amount is particularly huge considering the economic level of Kenyans and more so people who will be keen to obtain such a license. At the moment, most Kenyans who have sort to have a drone has been for entertainment purposes. This involves videographers capturing live events such as weddings, funerals and so on.

At the same time, Kenya’s official carrier – KQ has had its fair share of misfortunes over a couple of previous years. The Airline has been operating on losses and the Corona virus made things particularly difficult. Countries suspended travel in and out of their territories, making it very difficult for most airlines to stay afloat.

It only makes sense that KQ is now looking to boost its revenue stream through this initiative, it’s currently exploring various ways to increase revenues including offering a month’s course at that amount. The airline through its subsidiary – Fahari, has started offering training for Kenyans interested in operating drones but do not have licenses to do so, which has become a requirement from the latest regulations approved by the Civil Aviation Authority.

According to the technical director Evans Kihara, Kenya Airways will start by offering an introductory price of Ksh. 180,000, and this is excluding the cost of obtaining a class 3 aviation medical exam that costs around Ksh. 10,000.

Before this initiative, passengers have accounted for almost 85 percent of the airline’s revenue with cargo taking around 10 percent of the share. Kihara insists that trainees will have attained 18 years, proficient in English and must have completed an Aviation Class 3 medical exam.

Other players that have been licensed by the KCAA include Adriana and Drone Space. Drones are expected to be utilized in the country in photography, traffic management as well as during mapping exercises.

Huawei mobile has officially unveiled the Band 6 in Kenya with a 2-week battery for Ksh. 6,999

For those of us who have a thing for wearables must have seen this coming, Huawei mobile has officially introduced it latest wearable in Kenya, featuring a 1.47 AMOLED panel as well as a battery that can last up to 2weeks straight. The latest Huawei Band 6 comes at a time when more consumers are looking for fitness devices that are able to meet their daily needs at affordable prices.

I must admit that I’m quite a fan of smart wearables, especially after rocking almost all of Xiaomi’s offering since the band 4 onwards. And the introduction of the Huawei Band 6, gives us even more choice to get the best fitness tracker that best combines price and features. After carefully scanning through the Band 6’s spec sheet, anybody can easily observe that it was well packaged, thought not meticulously but to juts enough extend that most of us would be thrilled.

Cost has always been a factor to me personally when it comes to choosing my next wearable device, and Huawei priced the band 6 higher than what you’d expect from the likes of Xiaomi. The choice therefore rests within the consumer to either acknowledge its worthiness by looking through the tiny tidbits so as to say for sure whether it really deserves that price tag.

How the Huawei Band 6 was packaged

The two main flagship specs of this wearable according to Huawei are a 1.47-inch AMOLED panel the company proudly refers to as FullView, and an internal battery that is said to last for two weeks. And while we would like to appreciate the fact Huawei has almost removed bezels on this band, there are quite a number of similar devices that have been able to do so as well. But for those of us who want them digits, Huawei Band 6 manages to attain a screen to body ratio of 64 percent.

While speaking on the launch, Huawei Mobile Country Head Zhujie acknowledged that consumers were looking for devices that can accurately monitor health functions with comfort. He indicated the Band 6 has high standards on design material as well as various sensing technologies. Additionally, Zhujie pointed out that the Band 6 was the first smart band to support All-Day SpO2 monitoring as well as keeping track of heart rate, sleep, stress, and menstrual cycle.

 What is under the hood

The smart band packs a 1.47-inch AMOLED FullView Display with a resolution of 194*368 and 282PPI. This is a notable upgrade over the previous model. Additionally, the panel 148 percent larger, and the screen-to-body ratio has also remarkably improved to 64 percent.  HUAWEI Band 6 is available in Graphite Black, Amber Sunrise, Sakura Pink and Forest Green to match the user’s style or outfit.

Netflix unveils a KES 300 mobile only plan in Kenya, supported on smartphones and tablets

US streaming giant Netflix has unveiled an affordable plan to Kenyan viewers in a move that’s directly aimed at Multichoice with a rather staggeringly KES 300 mobile only plan. Kenyans who are not willing to pay as much as Kenya shillings 700 towards the standard package of Netflix, will now have an option to subscribe to a mobile only version that costs only Kenya shillings 300.

According to the streaming giant, different people have different needs. For example, there are those who would prefer to have Ultra HD videos on their television sets, while others especially in the Sub-Saharan Africa region would choose affordability rather than the image quality. There are a few differences on this plan though compared to the regular packages. For once, you can only use this package on mobile devices and tablets and the image quality is capped at 480P.

Other countries which have also seen their prices reduced on the lower tier of the Netflix plan include Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. Netflix has become almost a house hold name in most countries especially after the covid-19 pandemic which saw most people work from home. It offers reasonable entertainment options for users who can access fixed internet at their homes.

New Netflix rates for smartphones and tablets

CountryCurrencyMobile PriceBasic PriceStandard PricePremium Price
NigeriaNGN1,2002,9003,6004,400
KenyaKES3007009501,200
South AfricaZAR4999139169
Other SSA CountriesUSD3.99$7.99$9.99$11.99

Speaking on the development, Netflix’s VP of product innovation Keela Robinson said the company wanted to make it easier for subscribers to access their favorite movies and series regardless of their language, device they are using, connectivity or where they are accessing from.

Key Steps To Consider For Successful Product Design

Have you ever thought about designing and manufacturing your own product but stumbled at the first step? It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurial inventors and designers to envisage innovative products but become disillusioned or dissuaded by the seemingly impossible process of taking ideas from the concept stage through to final production and delivery.

If that sounds in any way familiar, read on for some tried and tested tips that will help you get your fledgling idea off the ground.

Look at your market and evaluate the possible competition

While there are exceptions, it will be considerably harder to launch a product in an already crowded market, so take some time to look around your intended sector to evaluate the viability of your idea. Checking out the competition will also help give you ideas for your packaging, materials, design, etc.

Make a mock-up

Making a visual representation will focus your mind and let you see potential problems with your idea before committing to production and parting with cash. Online tools like PSD Covers will allow you to make a mock-up of your product.

Think about the materials you’re going to need

Early in the design process, you should have a very clear idea of the materials you will need to make your product. Check online, visit stores, and request catalogs from suppliers to ascertain prices for the best products to achieve your end goals. Trusted and experienced suppliers of raw material such as Avocet Precision Metals will be able to offer very competitive pricing alongside their vast knowledge by using them directly.

Produce a basic sample

Once you’ve selected the materials you’re going to use, it’s time to make a rough sample to test the functionality of your idea. This will also help further down the line when you approach a manufacturing company.

Produce a spec sheet

Making a sample should help focus the actual functionality of your idea and allow you to draft a spec sheet for your product, including everything from the shape, size, color, and weight of your finished model.

Commission a professional prototype

In many cases, it will be unlikely you’ll be able to produce your product by yourself, so you’ll probably need to approach a production company to manufacture a working prototype of your idea – hence the importance of the previous two stages. You’ll need to supply the manufacturing company with a detailed list of your product’s specs – plus a basic mock-up – to give them a clear idea of what you’re hoping to make. At this stage, the manufacturing company will also likely offer additional hints or tips that you might not have considered.

Get as much feedback as you can

Ideas are all well and good when they’re ratting around your head, but it’s only through putting a product out to testing that you’ll get a real sense if you’re onto something. Comprehensive testing is essential if you’re to hit the ground running with your final product, so get as much feedback as possible. Remember too that, just because you understand your product and how it works, you should never presume everyone else will. In particular, it’s worth bearing in mind the old saying, “Nothing is foolproof to the sufficiently talented fool”. There simply is no way of telling if your product is going to be user-friendly without letting people test it.

Vivo Smartphone unveils the V21 with a 44MP OIS front camera and a 4000mAh battery

Vivo continues to be a force to reckon with in Kenya’s smartphone market targeting the mid-tier segment with some interesting devices. To this end, they’ve unveiled yet another device within the popular V-series lineup featuring some interesting camera tech. The front facing camera now comes with optical image stabilization, a technology that was previously only seen within the rear facing primary camera.

It is one of those moments that reminds me of the good old HTC M10 that featured optical image stabilization in the front facing camera. it’s a technology that was only witnessed within the rear facing camera especially on high-end devices. User needs in the days of yore greatly differ from what the so-called millennials look for in a need handset. The selfie camera was never meant for taking videos; but now, there are YouTubers and other content creators that require a functional selfie camera.

Vivo is known to offer devices that have a great combination of price and features, but for Ksh 41,999 which is the official price of V21 here in Kenya, we are not saying that the latest vivo V21 is cheap; in fact, it comes at a steep price considering Kenya’s economic level. The niche which is expected to buy this phone is quite limited considering the number of people in the country who can manage purchase this handset comfortability.

It’ll be interesting to note that the brand entered into a partnership with the UEFA EURO cup 2020 as the official smartphone sponsor, to basically try and push sales of its devices, and Kenyans just like most countries do love sports. And while Vivo kept the profile of the V21 slim, the brand managed to enclose within it what some would call a wonderful selfie camera as well as an interesting primary shooter, both with optical image stabilization.

Speaking on the launch, Vivo Kenya Brand and Communications Manager James Irungu noted the company had considered what customers valued most. James further said they’ve included an OIS front camera as a radical step that is expected to set benchmarks for future smartphones.

Under the hood, this handset comes equipped with specs that align with the current price tag. Underneath is a 64MP primary camera coupled with a few secondary cameras to compliment photography needs off users. We an 8MP wide-angle lens, as well as a 2MP for macro photography.

Vivo V21 availability in Kenya and price

The V21 that will be available both online and offline in Kenya for 41,999 Ksh. This model will have 8GB plus 3GB Extended RAM coupled with up to 128GB of onboard storage. These features are present, thanks to the smartphones’ MTK Dimensity 800U processor. The 33W FlashCharge allows users to recharge the included 4000 mAh battery in no time.  User will have a choice of two colors; Sunset Dazzle, and Dusk Blue.

How to get free Data bundles and minutes on Telkom Kenya network for life!

Ever thought of getting free data bundles and airtime from one of the local mobile network providers here in Kenya? Perhaps not, but Telkom Kenya has decided to award some of its subscribers with free data bundles and talk time for life. In one of a kind offers from a local telco operator, subscribers will be given 1GB data bundle as well as 100 minutes to call other Telkom lines for free, and the offer does not expire!

In the new campaign dubbed Madaraka life, the company is committing to give customers data and minutes every month, highlighting its commitment to ensure that subscribers enjoy some of the services offered on its network such as T-kash. Wake speaking on the development, Telkom’s chief executive officer Mr. Mugo Kibati acknowledge that making calls and being able to connect with the Internet would have become a basic need for everyone. Mugo continued to note that at this particular time and age, the telco understood the need for everyone to have access to the Internet as well as to communicate with their family and friends and therefore was committing to empowering Kenyans in doing just that.

How to get free data bundles and minutes on Telkom Kenya network

  • For a start, the offer is only available within Nairobi and can be utilized by new subscribers or if you make a one-off payment of KES 100.
  • The offer is only available within Nairobi but is expected rollout across the country in the near future.
  • On your phone dial *444*58#.
  • Then proceed with the prompts