Since the introduction of Safaricom’s data bundles with no expiry last year, subscribers have more than doubled the value of unused data purchased to Sh2.1 billion.
According to Safaricom’s financial report, the airtime and bundles under unutilized resources increased from Sh0.9 billion last year to Sh 2.1 billion March this year, a 133.3 percent jump.
The rise is attributed to Safaricom’s decision on October 23, 2020 to introduce data bundles without expiry following a public outcry that ended up in court.
“During the year the group introduced the no expiry products under the Neo theme to ensure customers get value for what they buy. As a result, the value of unutilized resources increased,” Safaricom said in its annual report.
This figures also demonstrate how much value customers were losing before the introduction of the non-expiry option. The figure is expected to rise year over year given that the March report contained data collected within five months of the launch.
Safaricom says that the value is only recognized as revenue once the airtime and data bundles have been used by the customer. This is in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS), that guides businesses on how and when to recognize revenue.
“On purchase, the billed amount is deferred and revenues only recognized when the service is rendered as either voice or SMS,” says Safaricom.
In October last year, Lawyer and ICT practitioner Adrian Kamotho sued Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya over the loss of internet bundles due to the expiry timelines. This prompted the telcos to introduce non-expiry options on airtime and data bundles even before a ruling was made on the case.
Regionally, South Africa faced similar demands from mobile subscribers forcing the regulator to compel operators to let subscribers roll over unused data.
Safaricom’s parent company, Vodacom, also shelved their plans to charge customers for a rollover following unrest from some subscribers.