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Just How Much Could You Save By Using Safaricom’s New East Africa Roaming Bundles?

One of the biggest caveats of roaming with your mobile line is that the costs for making calls or even daring to use the Internet are often really expensive. Being a regular regional and international traveller, I often do turn on roaming but almost always have a second mobile phone with a local line. This means I can save loads of money by using a local line but it happens that you may have to make long calls or even use the Internet when no other option is available – leading to costs as high as Kes. 2,000.00 per day, if not more.

Indeed, Safaricom recently raised their roaming rates in East Africa after the other East African Community (EAC) countries increased taxes for incoming calls from Kenya making it even more costly to communicate within the region than it is to communicate internationally which still really amazes me! Seriously, what is the logic when East African regional integration is meant to make cost-effective communication a priority rather than a money minting opportunity? Clearly, I cannot be the only one feeling the pain and it was only a matter of time before a solution came along.

Therefore, I am pretty excited that Safaricom this past weekend launched for the very first time roaming bundles on their network for prepaid subscribers specifically for the East African region (you can see the details on their web site here). The countries covered in the new East Africa roaming bundles are Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. One can buy bundles for Kes. 500.00, Kes. 1,000.00 and Kes. 2,000.00 for making and receiving voice calls as well as sending SMS messages and accessing the Internet. The Internet bundle really got me jumping up and down since if you have ever dared to use the Internet when roaming then you would know its just as bad as literally burning money – its mad expensive!

One thing about the new bundles from Safaricom that I noticed is that whichever bundle you buy the rates are constant meaning that there is no discounting benefit if you opt for more expensive bundles. In addition, the rate for receiving calls is the same whether you use a bundle or not when roaming in East Africa. However, what I wanted to figure out more than anything is exactly how much money could you save if you used the roaming bundles versus being out of bundle? Would it be worth the hassle? Well, basically, I ran the numbers and the savings are actually quite significant – to the extent it would really be dumb not to use them if you intend to roam in East Africa on Safaricom. In a nutshell, the following tables breakdown the savings quite nicely:

Rwanda In-Bundle Out of Bundle Saving
Voice Roaming: Outgoing In-Country Roaming Calls Per Minute Ksh16.67 Ksh40.00 Ksh23.33
Voice Roaming: Outgoing Calls To Kenya Per Minute Ksh16.67 Ksh90.00 Ksh73.33
Voice Roaming: Incoming Calls Per Minute Ksh25.00 Ksh25.00 Ksh0.00
SMS Roaming: Per SMS Ksh11.11 Ksh20.00 Ksh8.89
Internet Roaming: Per Megabyte (MB) Ksh12.50 Ksh35.00 Ksh22.50
Tanzania In-Bundle Out of Bundle Saving
Voice Roaming: Outgoing In-Country Roaming Calls Per Minute Ksh16.67 Ksh50.00 Ksh33.33
Voice Roaming: Outgoing Calls To Kenya Per Minute Ksh16.67 Ksh75.00 Ksh58.33
Voice Roaming: Incoming Calls Per Minute Ksh25.00 Ksh25.00 Ksh0.00
SMS Roaming: Per SMS Ksh11.11 Ksh20.00 Ksh8.89
Internet Roaming: Per Megabyte (MB) Ksh12.50 Ksh75.00 Ksh62.50
Uganda In-Bundle Out of Bundle Saving
Voice Roaming: Outgoing In-Country Roaming Calls Per Minute Ksh16.67 Ksh50.00 Ksh33.33
Voice Roaming: Outgoing Calls To Kenya Per Minute Ksh16.67 Ksh85.00 Ksh68.33
Voice Roaming: Incoming Calls Per Minute Ksh25.00 Ksh25.00 Ksh0.00
SMS Roaming: Per SMS Ksh11.11 Ksh20.00 Ksh8.89
Internet Roaming: Per Megabyte (MB) Ksh12.50 Ksh65.00 Ksh52.50
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