Last year, Safaricom reported that over 67% of phones it sold were smartphones and expected to see the number go up towards the end of the year.
This new year, the firm’s M-Shwari, a micro-credit service launched Safaricom launched in partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) in November 2012 launched in pilot smartphone loan scheme dubbed Smart Loan to help Safaricom susbscribers buy smartphones after paying just 30% in cash the rest in up to installments of up to six months.
After just a month of trials, the firm announced it had sold over 6,500 devices already and more are being sold by the day. The Smart Loan service is expected to grow Kenya’s smartphone penetration and put the country on the global digital map, as smartphones breed innovation-due to need of apps and local content.
“Kenya’s smartphone penetration has been growing phenomenally over the past five years, but there are still many customers who are not able to afford a device. We believe that by coming up with this proposition we make it possible for customers to access the wealth of knowledge available on the internet,” said Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer, Bob Collymore.
The service is available for all smart phones and tablets available in Safaricom shops.
M-Shwari in June, 2014, launched a fixed deposit savings account dubbed “Lock Savings Account”, to help Kenyans save for their specific purposes. The Lock Savings Account allows customers to save a minimum of KES 500 for a maximum of six months at interest rates of up to 6% p.a.
CBA and Vodacom also launched a similar service in Tanzania dubbed M-Pawa, which claimed to have registered over 250,000 customers just three weeks after it was launched. By providing such services, Safaricom is becoming part of its customers lives even further cementing its position as East Africa’s largest and most innovative telco.