Safaricom PLC has today announced they’re soon launching a device financing program under their Lipa Mdogo Mdogo program. With this program, customers will be able to buy 4G devices for as little as KES. 20 a day. This announcement has come during the reading of the company’s full-year results ending March 31st 2020 in which the company announced profit growths from KES. 63.4 Billion to KES. 71.7 Billion.
The company has said that the initiative is done in partnership with Google, and is a way of getting more Kenyans to faster 4G speeds, instead of 2G on feature phones. This means that the KES. 20-a-day devices will most definitely be the Safaricom NEON smartphones – which have sold close to 1 Million units already.
Speaking during the results announcement, Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said, “(a) smartphone device is critical in supporting the new realities brought about by COVID-19. This proposition aims to support Kenyans during and beyond this pandemic by enabling them access more opportunities, be it learning, working or running businesses from the comfort of their homes,” said Ndegwa. More details on this will be released by the end of this quarter.
Mariama Abdullahi, Director, Android and Platforms Partnerships for Africa said: “Android’s goal has always been to bring the power of computing to everyone. Access to the opportunities the internet offers is critical for any nations’ economic growth and social inclusion. Majority of Kenyans and Africans at large access the internet via mobile broadband. In Kenya, approximately 60% of the mobile phone install base is still on 2G feature phones and 40% smartphones with key barriers to people coming online being device and data affordability. We believe that this collaboration with Safaricom will bring more Kenyans access and the means to partake in the opportunities that exist online,”
The service which is already under piloting will most likely be available through Safaricom Shops, and most probably people will be signing up through a USSD code with payments being done through M-Pesa. Hopefully, these payments will be automated, or with reminders.
Many people will definitely hop on to the program regardless of the payment terms. We’ve already seen Solar company M-Kopa’s KES. 60 a day program where customers get a range of devices including some from Samsung, and Huawei. The new service from Safaricom will give M-Kopa a run for their money. It is not only cheaper, but it will also be much more accessible.
Lipa Mdogo Mdogo has existed for a while now as a way for Safaricom customers to borrow airtime, and then pay it back in small installments. Safaricom is expanding this name to also cover their new device financing program.
The thing to note, however, is that this new program may be different from the expected device financing program that’ll launch under Safaricom’s Post Pay tariff. Safaricom had promised a device financing program under their Post Pay tariff that would allow Kenyans to buy a Post Pay plan that goes with a new smartphone purchase. This is yet to roll out, and will most probably be a monthly payment plan that gives you both the phone, data, minutes and SMSs.