Company News

Kenya's Safaricom launches 4G phone purchase by instalment scheme with Google

NAIROBI, July 28 (Reuters) - Kenya’s biggest telecoms operator Safaricom said on Tuesday it had launched a programme in partnership with Google that allows its customers to pay for 4G-enabled phones in instalments, as it seeks to increase smart phone usage on its network.

The company said in April it would partner with Google to offer one million affordable smart phones, with customers paying as little as 20 shillings a day over a nine-month period, with the ultimate aim of switching about 4 million 2G and 3G phones to 4G.

“Together with our key partner Google, and specifically Android, we are aiming for an additional one million customers who will be able to access and leverage the power of the internet,” Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa said in a video on his Twitter account.

He said the phone, which costs 5,999 shillings ($55.75), can be bought with a 1,000 shilling down payment, thereafter followed by a 20 shilling daily payment until the phone is paid for.

The Kenyan company, part-owned by South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone, is bolstering its data business to offset a fall in revenue from mobile calls amid a saturated market.

It had 28.6 million customers as of the end of its financial year in March and reported a 13% rise in full-year earnings before interest and tax to 101.5 billion shillings. ($1 = 107.6000 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Susan Fenton)