BY JEVANS NYABIAGE
Mobile phone service provider, Safaricom has increased voice-calling rates by Sh1, pointing blame on high inflation and depreciating Kenyan shilling.
It will now cost Sh4 to make Safaricom to Safaricom calls and Sh5 to other networks. The operator also increased international calling rates, however, data services and text messaging will remain unchanged.
" Safaricom will be very sensitive to the tough times facing customers when increasing tariffs but the business must be sustainable," the firmâs chief executive officer Bob Collymore said, in a press briefing on Friday.
"The nature of our business is that most of our purchases are in foreign currencies."
The company is Kenyaâs largest mobile phone services operator by subscriber base.
Collymore said inflation and a weak shilling as well as the high cost of diesel used in generators to run base stations that are away from the main electricity grid were among factors that had seen the companyâs operating expenditure rise.
"This is perhaps one of the most difficult decisions that my management team and I have had to make," he said.
This makes the operator, currently the most expensive in the voice segment.
In contrast though, earlier this week, Essar Telecomâs yu converted its free-all-day promotion into a tariff, in which its subscribers pay Sh2 to make calls free calls between 6am and 6pm.
Yu said its decision to settle for a permanent tariff, is due to the need to grow its customer base.
The operator is targeting the youth and lower segment of the market, who have a preference for lower calling rates.