There’s been many instances where we’ve asked why Kenyans don’t get to enjoy contracts when buying phones. For example, I can’t afford a 100k phone at once. But if you give me a contact where I can get it at say 5k or 10k a month, that would make sense.

Well Solar Provider M-Kopa is starting a new venture dubbed M-Kopa Phone. This will allow you to get a phone in what they claim is Africa’s first pay-as-you-go phone contract.

M-Kopa has long partnered with Safaricom’s M-Pesa for their Solar business. They’re doing the same here for the phone business. So the installments will be paid through M-Pesa.

The first, also currently the only phone you can get is the Samsung Galaxy A10s. Samsung officially announced availability of the device in Kenya on September 4th 2019. It was launched at a recommended retail price of KES. 12,889.

With this new deal, you can get it for KES. 60 a day. Which sounds like a good deal. Until you see what’s happening behind the scenes:

  1. You require a one time deposit of KES. 3499 before the installments.
  2. You’ll pay KES. 60 a day for 365 days. That’ll make the total cost of the phone to be KES. 25,399.
  3. Remember this is a 13k phone at best if you go buy it at once from Jumia or from Samsung shops.
  4. As a Safaricom device it’ll be a single-SIM device.
  5. If you lose the phone, you’ll still have to continue paying for the device as this contract doesn’t include insurance.
  6. The phone will be locked (using Samsung Knox) if you fail to make the daily payments. You’ll only be able to access the device to make M-Pesa payment once it has been locked.
  7. The KES. 60 a day doesn’t include data and airtime, so one has to carter for that themselves.

So why should one pay over 25k for a 13k device?

Safaricom’s Sylvia Mulinge says the extra cost is to carter for risk, and also for the convenience of getting the device immediately. Her explanation compares this contract to taking a loan from a bank.

My take is this: capitalism makes lives really hard for people who make little money. If this contract allowed for the device to cost like KES. 15,000 or even KES. 17,000 it would be plausible, and I’d recommend anyone to go for it. But at more than double the cost of the device, this is unfair and unfortunate for everyone who won’t do the math.

Samsung has said they hope this contract will last for the next 50 years. Hopefully over time the rules will be rethought. And the prices will be fairer. As it is now, my advice is don’t get this phone with these terms.

Save your money and wait to afford a phone at once. Because by the time a year elapses there’ll be a new phone. And this contract doesn’t allow you to exchange for new devices.

The deal will be available from next month across all Safaricom shops. Currently selected shops in Nairobi have the deal already live.

18 COMMENTS

  1. As a financial advisor and financial and investmentent analysist, this is so Ill. Who are the financial advisors to the three partnering organizations? Loan amortization schedule should take course, I suppose its a matter of taking advantage of the less informed members of the society. There is no loan from any organization that gives you profit of 100%.

  2. What harm can or rather will it bring if we as citizens who would want to marry the so called technology if we save that said Ksh. 60 for a year then get yourself a good gadget than paying the same amount for an item that’s not worthy

  3. The issue isn’t people being poor, it is the fear of reasoning and questioning some aspects of life. The remedy is to civilize our fellow citizens on the same. Let us empower the society with KNOWLEDGE.

  4. This is capitalism at its best. It’s sad that very many people will fall for these marketing gimmicks and not do the simple maths. What happened to delayed gratification? That person should be encouraged to save and shown that the same can be achieved by waiting a little longer. But then safaricom won’t be able to announce the mega profits it garners every year

  5. That’s no good deal at all.it seems that gadget isn’t able to compete wholly in that market and those with mkopa solar already targetted to be cheated with an Android phone which someone can afford from 7k

  6. Isn’t this a total ripoff? Doesn’t government have any rules against such deliberate manipulation by business entities?

  7. What about those people who have been listed at CRB.do they qualify… For I will go for it…I find it affordable.. At the moment am not in position to raise 13k..but will as go.thax

  8. Great insight, pity on the many who’ve caught on from the mkopa solar and ‘graduated’ into mkopa fridges and now phones. Wah!

  9. Rural life is tough. Affording that 30K my cost someone a whole life time. But getting 2,999 or 5,499 to begin a journey of owning a television set for the an employed, it’s easy.

    Some poor people even pay twice a week for the family atleast to enjoy program they can get unless they go to video which means paying for the service they will never own but rather benefiting the business person and their families.

    Electric TV is more cheap. But remember you have to pay for life without owning the electricity.

    I once talked to a friend who deal with solar, he told me for an average house it will cost 40K without installation fee and a television set.

    Yeah, it might look expensive but the poor person and that household have something to smile of.

  10. MKopa Solar is no different. Assemble all the items you receive for the 60k or so package and walk into any shop in town. On the higher end, you’ll spend a maximum of 30k including labor. Question is, why do people even think its a good deal to start with?

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