Dear Safaricom…

I’ve been successfully using your GPRS service on my (branded Vodafone!) Nokia 6230i in the past three months, and also took the opportunity to blog about this fine service (here and here) so that other users benefit from this technical progress which really makes a difference for wireless internet access in Kenya.

I am located in a rural area and it just adds lots of convenience to access my emails and surfing the net via my mobile and/or my computer. I wouldn’t want to miss it anymore, and I think wireless telco solutions are the future in Kenya in terms of reliability and accessibility. Thx!

However, there are still some open questions regarding your service which have come in as comments on my blog – and I would like to kindly ask you, or whoever is authorized to give an official statement on GPRS support on Safaricom.

Here are our questions:

  1. How much does it actually cost per Megabyte + V.A.T.? And how much is a megaybte? 1000 kb or 1.024 kb?
  2. How do you enable your customers to use GPRS? Is it just an activation for the SIM card / line?
  3. Are customers required to buy special GPRS phones which are supported by the network, or are the GPRS settings universal and only a few phones may receive automatic settings sent out by your service?
  4. How long does it take to activate customers on GPRS? I know there have been some users in the past months who are still waiting for their GPRS settings and/or line activation.
  5. How come the customer care line (100) is almost never available? Or is it just bad luck that I never got through so far?
  6. When will you update your (mobile office) website on GPRS usage? When I google for “safaricom gprs kenya settings” (and similar keywords), I first of all get to my own blog. Hmm. You know I am just a user who wants to share his joy with others. The blogging approach though might add to the Google ranking.
    In other words: update your website more often, and potential customers/users will figure it out themselves on how to use GPRS with Safaricom. Just like we did.
    (Please correct me if I am wrong on this one, but my assumption is that most GPRS users in Kenya are still above the kawaida level – geeks, to be precise, who first of all google for their informations needed before they try out the busy #100 helpline.)
  7. What can customers do to speed up the process of getting their GPRS settings? Can we walk in your Westlands office on Waiyaki Way in Nairobi and ask for the settings? I went to Sarit Centre’s Safaricom retailer the other day and asked for details, but the guy there just didn’t even know that GPRS also works for prepaid customers.
  8. aegeus asks: “I have been unable to use the GPRS service beyond 10 pm weekdays, is this interruption scheduled or part of the limits of the service?”
  9. and: “And can they provide a discounted price preference like the competitors whose postpaid customers are charged at 8 bob per 1mb, down from 10 bob if their usage exceeds a certain level?”
  10. AfroM asks: “…those of us in US have been having issues with their SMS services, our counterparts in Kenya receive the messages we send them but we do not receive their replies, yet they get charged for the SMS they sent to us?”
  11. 60/\/\ asks: “Why don’t the GMail app and some other applications like MJabber work.” (yeah, why not?!?!)

Any constructive comments on those questions will be highly appreciated by me and the various readers of this blog. Thx!

@everyone: if you know more or have further questions, pls put them as a comment and I’ll add them to the list…

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