safaricom roaming

A study conducted by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) and the African Competition Forum (ACF) has revealed that Safaricom offers Kenyans traveling to other African countries cheaper roaming charges than Airtel Kenya, despite the latter having a larger footprint on the continent.

The study found that even in countries where Airtel Kenya and Safaricom had partners with which they paired, Safaricom was still cheaper. Airtel Kenya had the highest roaming charges in Africa, making it costly for Kenyans outside the country to call back home.

This is despite Airtel Kenya having a presence in 15 countries on the continent. In contrast, countries that have Airtel and MTN networks that Kenyans are able to roam using Safaricom and Airtel Kenya are fairly priced.

The Most Expensive and Cheapest Regions for Kenyans to Roam

The study found that the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is the most expensive region for Kenyans to make calls to Kenya, receive calls from Kenya, and make calls within the region.

On the other hand, the five-member trading bloc of the East African Community (EAC) is the cheapest region for Kenyans to roam, with CAK attributing this to the One Network Area (ONA).

Airtel’s Reduced Roaming Tariffs in Kenya

In May 2017, Airtel, the parent company for Airtel Kenya, announced it had reduced its postpaid roaming tariffs in Kenya. The new rates of up to 99 percent tariff reduction targeted common travel destinations for Kenyans and businesses including the US, UK, UAE, China, Canada, India, South Africa, Qatar, and Turkey.

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Airtel said that customers visiting other countries would enjoy reduced data roaming rates at the rate of Sh14 per MB where initially they were charged up to Sh1,859 per MB. The cost of calls would also go down for those calling from countries such as China.

However, the study by the two competition watchdogs— a cross-country study in the roaming service within the telecommunication sector—found that Airtel was still the most expensive in roaming charges on the continent.

“Across Africa, Airtel Kenya has the highest costs of roaming despite having a presence in fifteen (15) countries. The roaming agreements could be investigated further,” said CAK.

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Nigel Jr.
As a tech enthusiast and expert, Nigel Jr. is dedicated to providing in-depth and insightful content on all things technology. With a background in online journalism, product reviewing, and tech creation, Nigel has become a trusted source for all things tech.

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