Telkom Kenya announces rise in Pay-As-You-Go call, data and SMS pricing as Finance Act 2021 starts to bite

Telkom Kenya subscribers that often browse, call or text “out of bundle” i.e. are Pay-As-You-Go customers, will pay more starting today as the telecommunications company structures its pricing guidelines in line with the demands placed on it by the coming into effect of the Finance Act 2021 on July 1.

The Act, signed into law last week, portends a bleak future for Kenyans who are already grappling with an increase in pricing of essential goods and services which has seen the cost of living in the country shoot up.

The amendment of the Excise Duty Act, 2015, via amendments to the Finance Act, 2021, resulted in a jump in excise duty for “telephone and internet data services” from the 15% that it shot up to 3 years ago to a whopping 20%.

In 2018, the rise of excise duty on voice, data and SMS to 15% from the then prevailing rate of 10%, saw a corresponding rise in the costing of various services as service providers passed on the costs to consumers. Safaricom, for instance, increased its call and SMS rates by 30 and 10 cents, respectively. It also raised prices for its home internet product, Home Fibre.

Users of loan apps and services by mobile network operators and their partners and those run by banks and others have also received prompts over the last few days regarding the hike in rates levied on the services they receive from their respective providers owing to the introduction of the 20% fee on commissions and fees earned by banks for credit advanced to customers on mobile platforms.

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Telkom Kenya subscribers will now pay Kshs 2.78 for on-net calls (Telkom-to-Telkom) and Kshs 4.30 for off-net calls (Telkom to other networks).

Sending SMS on the Telkom network and to other networks will cost Kshs 1.15.

For those browsing without purchasing any specific data bundle, they will be billed at a rate of Kshs 4.50 per MB.

Telkom Kenya customers who are subscribed to any voice or mobile data bundle offered by the company are unaffected by these changes as it has chosen to keep its current rates.

According to the latest telecommunication industry statistics shared by the regulator, Telkom Kenya’s market share stands at about 5% in data and at about 2% in the local voice market.

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