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10 Things I hate about Safaricom

Since my post on why I won't be ditching my Safaricom line any time soon, I've been getting a lot of love from Big Green affiliates broadcasting the post. What these fellows should have been doing is sorting out the many issues with their products and services. Since everybody likes lists, I'm going to put up another one today - on the 10 things that I really hate about Safaricom.

1. Masaa ya Kubamba tariff.
Surprised? Don't be. This is the most annoyingly complex product Safaricom have ever devised in their evil labs. First of all, how to determine what you'll be charged based the card you use to top up might make sense to the financial division, but it is absolute torture to the consumer. To make matters worse it isn't clear what happens if you top up 100, use 50 then top up 30 with M-PESA, sambaza 80, redeem bonga points, okoa jahazi, receive 100 through sambaza: what tariff are you on?

2. Okoa Jahazi
They should call this product Tuna shylock, at 10% interest for 3 days this is a ridiculously expensive product, and the fact that it works sometimes makes it a huge #fail as an "emergency credit" product.

3. Internet Bundles
Since Safaricom launched the Virtually Unlimited Internet service (*544#) of KES.8 per 10MB all other internet bundles stopped making sense. Why would I pay KES 1,000 for 300MB when I can simply top-up my number with KES 240, subscribe to *544# and wait one month as my internet bundles accumulate to 300MB? However, Safaricom (cleverly or not) has ensured that subscribing to 544 is a nightmare - there is never an immediate response to subscription and its almost impossible to know whether the subscription has gone through, failed, or if you are already subscribed.

4. M-PESA API (or lack thereof)
As a sometimes developer, I'm frustrated that Safaricom has failed to open up MPESA to developers through a well-documented API. The knuckle-head who makes these decisions at SCom should realise that this would explode the functionality and popularity of M-PESA.

5. Cost of an SMS
It's KES 3.50 on net and 5.00 off net! Enough said.

6. Calling Safaricom from VOIP.
Why is this still so expensive? (that's a rhetorical question to the squeeze-profits-out-of-hapless-suckers bosses at SCom). I'd love to use Gmail Voice Calls, or even Yello from Access Kenya and IzzyTalk from KDN but the cheapest is KES.8 per minute. Come on guys, interconnection fees have been reduced, let's bring down these charges.

7. Kama Kawaida
At some point SCom told us that if we were in Uganda or Tanzania, we would enjoy the same tariffs as if we were in Kenya (hence the "kama kawaida" slogan). Anyone who has travelled to TZ or UG and used their SCom line knows this to be a damn lie. And if the promotion was cancelled, an appreciate a warning message when I cross borders (i.e. that I'm on international roaming, and international rates apply)

8. Safaricom Live (formerly known as Safaricom Broadband formerly known as Safaricom Bambanet)
If you google "Bambanet", you'll see my post where I lambasted Safaricom for their internet through modem product, could it be why they changed the name? Well it's a new name, but they still got enough problems. Right now, what I hate most is how the software installed with the modem can never give you a true and accurate picture of how many MBs you've downloaded or uploaded.

9.Network clarity
I know that I've previously said it's just good enough, but I still want to pull my hairs out when I have to spend 15 seconds of airtime saying "Hello.... can you hear me....hallo....can you hear me know?.."

10. Insufficient credit messages.
Anyone who has ever tried to send a text message to Safaricom when they have insufficient funds can immediately identify with me, why this can be one of the most annoying things about Safaricom. Not only do they send you a text message telling you that you have insufficient credit, but they send you three such messages in quick succession. I mean, come on! This has been going on for ever, you can't tell me that there isn't a Safaricom engineer who can fix this??

I've just realised that I can go on and on, but let me hear from you. What do you hate most about Safaricom?


Harry Karanja said…
Word on the street is that the annoying 3 for 1 insufficient credit messages are no more. I'm yet to personally verify this though.
Elmira said…
Great blog!
Thanks for sharing.

Tenax Technologies is a Belarussian software company delivering complex web solutions. We provide comprehensive software development for startups based on Java J2EE Spring Hibernate web2.0 technologies.
Jannes said…
nyce, the best post have ever in a local blog, keep it up... atta boy.
Harry Karanja said…
Thanks Danny.

Don't know if anyone at Big Green is listening but issues 3 and 5 have been worked on with the new Bamba internet and Masaa ya SMS bundles.
theonlinekenyan said…
I like the fact that this list contains all of Safaricon's offers. Just wrote a Saf internet post and linked to this post.
Anonymous said…
safaricom tech is just... what makes safaricom such a joke is that they know these problems and they do nothing! eg. the system that's used to tell yot info when you dial *something# is called ussd. safaricom has the worst designed ussd information system. it never communicates clearly or even promptly. the result is a whole bunch of confused subscribers. but you can bet safaricom is making a ton of money from this confusion. cck went to sleep were on our own!
Anonymous said…
you have too much time in your hands.
safaricom is a great innovative company. true i have been having a hell of a difficult time with their live service on my mobile phone n hope they can address it... but to complain about sms?
i can think of a couple things you can do to get a little busier. try getting a job.
or a wife with a kid (or two)
Harry Karanja said…
@Anon 6:31

As nice as a wife and kids would be, I doubt this would my Safaricom gripes about SMS disappear :)

Perhaps you can tell us how you've managed to remain sane seeing as you are "having a hell of a difficult time with their live service"

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