Airtel Kenya has responded to the move by Safaricom and probably Telkom Kenya to raise call charges by saying that they will ensure that “the cost of calling to other networks from Airtel remains lower than that of making calls within some other networks in Kenya today”.
Airtel Kenya says that its calling rates remain at Kshs 3/- per minute across all networks in Kenya for both prepaid and postpaid. SMS costs remain at Kshs1/- across all networks in Kenya with International calls continuing to be charged at Kshs3/-.
Safaricom recently increased its calling rates and Orange is expected to follow while yu and Airtel were expected to increased with a lesser percentage or let the rates stay at their current level. The main sector of competition in the mobile phone market will be on data and value added services as network migration on voice is hard now with the rates being substantially low.
Full Statement from Airtel Kenya
Airtel Kenya today proclaimed itself as the true partner to Kenyans in their effort to beat inflation by announcing that it will not increase its calling rates against the backdrop of the current challenging economic environment with high inflation affecting the operational costs for companies and individual customers in Kenya today.
This announcement ensures that the cost of calling to other networks from Airtel remains lower than that of making calls within some other networks in Kenya today.
Airtel’s calling rates remain at Kshs3/- per minute across all networks in Kenya for both prepaid and postpaid. SMS costs remain at Kshs1/- across all networks in Kenya with International calls continuing to be charged at Kshs3/-.
In a statement, Mr. Shivan Bhargava, Airtel Kenya Chief Operating Officer observed that like other industry players and customers in general, Airtel has been hit by the depreciation of the Kenya Shilling against the US Dollar and other major international currencies leading to an increase in its operational costs including fuel costs for its base stations.
Mr. Bhargava expressed his delight at the pace of development in Kenya and its position as the unrivalled regional business hub noting that the improved infrastructure, level of manpower development and the booming tourism industry makes a perfect complement for partnership with Kenya and Airtel and its strategy of offering affordable quality communications solutions for all Kenyans noting that Airtel is in Kenya and with Kenyans for the long term.
He went on to add that “Airtel’s objective is to increase mobile penetration and usage through affordability and network expansion in rural areas for voice and Internet services to offer Kenyans the freedom to achieve their goals and to drive GDP growth. We recognize that by providing affordable rates in the mobile industry, the company will help the Government control inflation and empower Kenyans to increase their expenditure in health and education.
Mr. Bhargava explained that “In a world where everything is moving up so fast for Kenyans, it is good to know that Airtel’s rates will remain the same; making it possible for Kenyans to call and share their daily experiences with family and friends and to also make that much needed business call that may just earn them the break and put the much desired extra coin of the day for food on their tables”.
He explained that Airtel has been able to retain its pricing by working on synergies, efficiencies and productivity of its operations to deliver more for less; passing on the benefits accrued from these efficiencies to its customers by retaining its call rates at bare minimum. He said Airtel will continue to offer affordable products and services to all Kenyans, supported by a superior quality network and growing Airtel Money network.
Mr. Bhargava said that Airtel being one of the world’s top 5 mobile communications companies and the only one with operations in 16 countries in Africa with a recent entry into Rwanda bringing the total to 17 provides the same familiar brand and the same quality of service, reliability, innovation and affordability wherever its customers live, work or travel.
He revealed that customers will also soon benefit from the regional presence of Airtel as the company takes steps to review the costs of its calls to the East African Community downwards, especially to Tanzania and Uganda where a majority of Kenyans have either family or business connections.
He revealed that the company is currently testing a brand new 3G network across Kenya that will enhance quality and speed of internet access for it’s customers noting that the formal launch will come within the next 45 days.
The company is also contributing to the enhancement of employment in Kenya will be by bringing to the country BPO and partnering with world-class organizations such as IBM, Nokia Siemens Networks, Ericsson and SPANCO who will invest in the country and offer employment and training for young Kenyans.
Airtel recently relaunched its Airtel Money E-Commerce product with increased agencies offering cash deposit and withdrawal points across the country. It also launched the world’s first revolutionary one time use MasterCard debit card, PayOnlinejointly with MasterCard and Standard Chartered Bank that allows Airtel Money Customers to conveniently pay for goods and services on the internet without having to worry about the security of card fraud. Customers are also able to pay water and electricity bills for free on Airtel Money using user friendly menu.