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How to purchase international calls voice bundles on the Safaricom network

Making those international calls from Kenya can be both expensive or relatively affordable if you do some things first. While Safaricom does not have the cheapest calling rates to make calls outside Kenya, it provides some voice bundles that users can utilize to ease the burden of making those international calls.

At the moment, Kenya’s largest service provider only allows users to purchase voice bundles that can be utilized to make calls to four countries; China, Canada, USA and India. The bundles are given in minutes with expiry periods ranging from 24hrs, 7days and 30days.

Something worth noting, the voice bundles have to be used within the stated expiry period and cannot be reactivated for further use. However, if another bundle is bought before the expiry of a previous bundle then its reactivated and rolled over for another period.

How to purchase international voice bundles on Safaricom network

  • On your phone, either dial *100# or *200# then press call
  • Next choose Products & Services then press send
  • Proceed to select International Calling Bundles
  • You can then choose from;
  • 6 Minutes at Ksh 19 valid for 24hrs
  • 40 Minutes at Ksh 99 valid for 7days
  • 170 minutes at Kshs 399 valid for 30days

 How to check remaining voice bundle for international calls

  • Users can check by dialing *100# or *200#
  • Or by just sending the word “Balance” to 144

NAS Servair, Jumia Food ink a deal to deliver food in Nairobi at KS 200 dubbed Bei Poa Kitchen

E-commerce operator Jumia and Airline in-flight caterer NAS Servair has signed a deal that will see Nairobians get food deliveries at KS 200. The in-flight caterer launched a new business segment that will involve selling food to people within the city, straying from its usual flight operated business. The new venture has been motivated by changing times, especially after the Covid-19 period that affected the sector to the core.

Air travel was severely affected by the pandemic, especially after several countries entered into lockdown modes, restricting travel that resulted in grounding of several airlines due to lack of passengers. The restrictions were meant to curb the spread of the virus, but ended up affecting their entire business in the aviation industry.

Additionally, even though travel restrictions have been eased over time, there are still some social distancing guidelines in place that have changed how people behave in public places. Restaurants continue to suffer as more people are now opting for take away or home-made meals as we saw from the Mastercard love index report.

While speaking on the Bei Poa Kitchen service, NAS Servair general manager Stephane Lopez said the deal came as a result to the growing demand for ready meals to offices and homes within the city. Lopez further attributed the deal to the experience Jumia has in running a Pan African e-commerce platform as well as their catering service that serves 30 airlines operating in the country at an affordable way.

Jumia Food Chief Commerce Officer Shreenal Ruparelia commented on the deal saying the partnership will run on the social distancing measures issued by the government that have forced most people to avoid crowded places in favor of home and office deliveries.

Shreenal further said the e-commerce platform was happy to partner with NAS Servair in launching Bei Poa Kitchen that will avail low-cost meals to consumers at a large scale. Additionally, Shreenal acknowledged how food delivery from restaurants was growing at commendable pace owing to people urge to avoid crowds. Bei Poa Kitchen orders must be placed and paid before 6pm, the day before expected delivery. This would allow NAS Servair to prepare meals overnight and be ready for delivery the following day.

Safaricom rated the best network to make calls and data access by umlaut

Kenya’s largest mobile service provider – Safaricom has been ranked as the best network to make calls and access data in the country. The telco outpaced Airtel and Telkom to become the best network for calls and data by umlaut. The win effectively puts the service provider in a driver’s seat for a fourth year in a row. Umlaut performed Drive Tests across the country, comparing all available networks against each other in voice and data quality.

According to umlaut, Safaricom was the only mobile service provider in the country to offer Voice Over LTE – commonly referred to as VoLTE across the country including rural areas which somehow gave it a head start to outpace other providers in the country. Safaricom unveiled VoLTE sometimes in 2019, allowing subscribers to experience high-definition voice when making calls with supported devices. Alongside VoLTE launch, Safaricom also introduced a range of supported devices that were significantly affordable such as the Neon Ray and Neon Nova – costing KS 3,999 and KS 5,999 consecutively.

Speaking on the announcement, Safaricom’s CEO Peter Ndegwa said it was an honor for the company to emerge Best in Test for a fourth year in a row. Ndegwa further said the position was proof of the firm’s commitment to provide customers in the country with the best technology as well as connectivity regardless of where they are.

Tests done by umlaut showed Safaricom attaining an average download speed of up to 58.5 Megabits per second (Mbps) and an average upload speed of 36.4Mbps. in terms of voice, the telco achieved an impressive High-Definition voice quality calls on its network with a call setup of less than 2 seconds.

While congratulating Safaricom, umlaut CEO Telecommunications Hakan Ekmen said users on the network had achieved the best experience in the country. Hakan further acknowledged the challenges faced as a result of the pandemic, but praised Safaricom for maintaining a remarkable service in terms of voice and data quality.

Safaricom has so far deployed more than 90 percent of its network to support VoLTE which enables subscribers to make calls as well as access data on 4G speeds at the same time. Compared to traditional networks, which throttles data access whenever a call is made or received, VoLTE will maintain the same connection whether a call is made or not.

Deployment of 4G carrier aggregation technology on its networks helped Safaricom to emerge top in mobile data performance. The telco exceeded 20 Megahertz in data upload test, beating other providers who failed to surpass the mark. 4G Carrier Aggregation is a technology that Safaricom uses to combine its 4G bandwidth on both the 1800 and 800 frequency bands. As a result, subscribers on the network can then establish more than one simultaneous connection to network masts thereby achieving more than 150 percent speeds of a typical 4G connection.

Kenyans still determined to spend on their loved ones despite pandemic, Mastercard report says

Rallying-up to the love month, a report by Mastercard indicates that Kenyans are still determined to fancy their loved ones with gifts despite the pandemic. A report detailed in Mastercard love index indicate that Kenyans spending on gifts for their loved ones has grown up 240 percent over the past ten years. Consequently, online shopping continues to remain the preferred mode of shopping, especially after the pandemic happened. A recent report from Mastercard has indicated that consumers in the country, now favor online shopping to traditional methods.

Owing to several social distancing guidelines put in place to curb the spread of the virus, home cooked meals, movie marathons alongside do it yourself (DIY) restaurant kits are expected to make-up a large portion of this year’s romantic experiences. The report which bases on February 14th-the perceived most romantic day in the whole calendar year has singled out sentimental shoppers not to be deterred by the effects of the current pandemic.

According to the report which analyzed card purchases across the globe days leading to or on valentine’s day, Kenyans spending on gifts and experiences are up 458 percent compared to ten years ago. Consequently, amount spend on outings as well as traditional items has increased over years, with flights now up by 327 percent and restaurants at 237 percent.

Online shopping has grown tremendously over the past decade to reach an all time high at 1225 percent increase for valentine’s related items. Additionally, contactless transactions have increased by 1100 percent by 2020 compared to the same period a year earlier.

According to Mastercard Vice President for Sub Saharan Africa Kari Tukur, the love index report has provided rich data on consumer shopping trends as well as behavior during valentine’s day celebration. Tukur further acknowledged how Kenyans are still determined to splurge on their loved ones despite the year 2020 being difficult in all corners.  

Kenya government, Stanbic and Microsoft partner to equip Kenyan businesses with digital skills

The Kenyan government alongside Stanbic Kenya Foundation and Microsoft have partnered to equip Kenyan businesses with digital skills needed to fill the gap within the market. The initiative is expected to impact more than 50,000 entrepreneurs, who have been affected by the ongoing pandemic. MSMEs as well as Kenyans are expected to benefit from digital upskilling, especially those who had lost jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Following the prolonged pandemic duration which resulted in a longer period of downturn for businesses, many companies in the country responded by laying-off staff following a period of diminished or no revenues. As a result, there were numerous job losses, and the initiative is looking to impact them. According to the initiative, Stanbic bank and Microsoft Kenya will unveil the program in several counties across the country with support from the concerned Kenyan ministry to cover at least 1,000 state employees as well as placing 2,000 youths into employment by end of the year.

While speaking on the unveiling, cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Betty C. Maina acknowledged the digital landscape was changing rapidly, and Kenyans needed to change in order to remain employable. Betty C further welcomed the initiative, pointing out the private sector’s need to support the government in progressing its digital strategy. She concluded by adding that the initiative will go along way in cementing the government’s investments in capacity building as well as adoption of digital technologies.

According to latest estimates, the labor market world-over will need close to 150 million jobs for a period of 5 years to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Most of these jobs are expected to come from technology rather than traditional methods. This will ensure there isn’t a big gap in social and economic disparity as well as creating a tech-enabled workforce that would aid companies recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Commenting on the initiative, the Chief Executive for Stanbic Bank Kenya, Charles Mudiwa said the company had set an initial target of 50,000 people in Kenya but will add more in in subsequent phases as they work to empower and uplift Kenyans to continue innovating themselves and to achieve their dreams.

Microsoft Kenya Country Manager Kendi Nderitu said the company will be equipping Kenyans with necessary resources to be able to gain additional skills as it has always been the key component of their mission. Kendi further said the partnership will help curb the impact of the pandemic on Kenyans through addressing the growing skill gap in the country.

Safaricom’s fair usage policy caps internet speeds for its home fibre customers

Just a few days after we lauded Safaricom for being considerate in more than doubling internet speeds for its home fibre customers, the telco’s fixed home data business is yet again in the news, but this time on the dark side. The service provider has secretly introduced a fair usage policy on home fibre customers that will throttle internet speeds once they’ve reached their set limit in a particular month. Basically, what this means is, you really don’t have unlimited internet at subscribed speeds.

What is Safaricom Fair Usage Policy?

Unless you are tech savvy, or have a keen eye on your internet consumption, you may not know exactly what fair usage policy means. In a nutshell, Safaricom’s fair usage policy means, there’s a limit of how much data you are allowed to consume at your package speeds. For example, you may have subscribed to a data plan with speeds of 8mbpss up to a certain amount of data every month such as 500GB. Once you have utilized the 500GB, your internet speeds will be reduced to for example 1mbps for the remainder of the month. And that’s what fair usage policy means.

The move is detrimental to heavy data consumers, who will now have to cope with throttled speeds thanks to fair usage policy. While Safaricom has assured customers that their decision was carefully curved from statistics on how home internet customers have been using their internet, it sure sounds mischievous, especially what their real intention is.

To be fair, there are some customers who have been reselling their internet, and maybe this could be the reason behind it, it should also be noted, innocent customers will suffer altogether. Additionally, fixed internet is preferred against data bundles for the simple reason of being a bit reliable and assured connection speeds for the subscribed month.

Safaricom fair usage policy caps on home fibre customers

Fibre PackagesspeedsPrice (30 days)Fair Usage LimitSpeeds after Fair Usage
Bronze8MbpsKshs 2,900500GB1Mbps
Silver20MbpsKshs 3,9991000GB3Mbps
Gold40MbpsKshs 5,9991000GB3Mbps
Platinum100MbpsKshs 11,9991000GB3Mbps

It should also be noted the telco has done away with free installations; new customers will have to part with KES 3,000 as installation charges.

How to pay for your monthly Safaricom home fibre bill using MPESA

Now that Safaricom has almost doubled internet speeds for its home fibre customers, I’ve detailed a simple procedure that you can use to make those monthly payments. Customers can choose to either use a USSD code of better yet a Pay Bill number to settle their bills and continue enjoying internet. As we saw from our earlier tutorial, that indicates Safaricom is going all out to maximize returns from data services while expanding MPESA services to mitigate diminishing revenues from voice and text messages, Kenyans now have various options to choose for their fixed home internet needs.

How to get connected with Safaricom Home Fibre

Before we talk about how you can pay for your Safaricom Home fibre, let’s first outline how those aspiring to have fixed home internet from the telco can go about it. For a start, you must be within a locality covered by the Safaricom Home Fibre internet, a quick search on their website will show if you can be hooked up. Secondly, if the first statement is true, then you’ll need to avail personal details to any of Safaricom sales reps. And once your account has been created and paid, you should be connected within 48hrs, at least that’s what Safaricom says.

How to pay for your monthly Safaricom Home Fibre

  • You can pay using a USSD Code *400#
  • Proceed to chose Pay, and on the next options select appropriate account
  • You can choose to pay for another account
  • Enter the Account Number and proceed to put the amount as well as MPESA pin to complete the transaction
  • To pay via MPESA Pay Bill, head over to MPESA and choose Pay Bill option
  • Enter Home Fibre MPESA business number 150501
  • Proceed to enter your Account Number
  • Followed by the Amount and complete the transaction with your MPESA PIN.

Kenya Power is set to install solar panels in private houses and office blocks

In a rather surprising but expected move, Kenya’s sole distributor of electricity – the Kenya power is set to enter the solar market. The parastatal which has enjoyed monopoly in the sector for years but faces a threat from an increasing uptake of solar power by private firms and homes, is now choosing to offer on grid solar energy instead of opposing the greener energy. The move is attributed to the power distributor’s efforts to stay relevant in a fast-changing world, especially following an uptake by its main customers.

A simple look at new homes in the country shows just how solar power is becoming popular in Kenya with almost every new home opting to fit a panel on its roof top rather than having to part with costly installation fees from the utility provider. Solar power has also proved to be more reliable and cheaper than Kenya Power’s grid, encouraging heavy industrial companies as well as private homes to utilize it as an alternative to the power utility.

Recently, there was an outcry after reports emerged that the government was making it impossible for private homes to install solar panels through guidelines that were somehow seen as a response to Kenya Power’s diminishing fortunes. The guidelines received a backlash from citizens, showing a clear intent by many of them to use solar instead of the utility firm’s services.

According to reports from internal documents seen by Business Daily, the utility firm indicates that Kenyans will benefit from cheaper solar energy generated during sunny hours and will avail storage with minimum autonomy to cancel out effects of short duration supply interruptions which has been a major talking point for industrial companies.  

Under Kenya power’s plan, consumers who need solar powered energy will have panels installed on their roof tops by contracted private firms under the design-build-finance and operate (DBFO) model. The utility company will then undertake the role of project management by liaising with interested commercial and industrial customers to give space on their rooftops or ground for installation of photovoltaic modules. Grid tied solar plants will then be installed at private homes, who will in return get power at discounted rates.