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.
    UPDATES:
  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…

32 comments » Write a comment

  1. What are the GPRS settings for pre-paid? I have never been able to get through on the help line, and the guys here in Nakuru told me that it is available only for post paid accounts.

  2. Thanks for putting up this post. I also am puzzled about the ‘always busy’ ‘customer care’ which i have never been able to reach. tried even one day at 1 am and the line was still ‘busy’!

    I wish to applaud Safaricom on the brilliant service they are providing for GPRS users, which i currently enjoy using. 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?

    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?

    Answers would be much appreciated. :-)

    Over to you Safaricom.

  3. JKE,
    It’s fantastic that you are asking about the GPRS. Indeed it is an excellent service.Initially for the prepaid people it was a mistake because we could actually browse free of charge but after they(safaricom) discovered this ,they continued the services at a fee . Don’t know if that was still a mistake but we are not complaining. I however, don’t know the exact rate. Hoping to get more feedback from this blog and also will ask the same to some customer care guys I know. As for the customer care number 100 seems you are not he only one who doesn’t go through.

  4. Aside from the GPRS – If they respond, could you also add that 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?!.Thanks!

  5. AFAIK they haven’t officially announced a GPRS service for prepaid customers. They’re probably in a development/testing phase so just hang tight till they’re ready.

    That aside, I have a question of my own. Why don’t the GMail app and some other applications like MJabber work.

  6. I got this info from a pal on the inside:

    1. Cost per MB is 12.60 inclusive of taxes. 1 MB = 1024 kb
    2. To get prepaid gprs, send blank sms to 4777 (spells gprs). You recieve several sms with settings. Depending on hanset, you may need to save the settings manually or will automatically be loaded ito your phone. Turn off phone and turn it on. This executes location update (your settings are registered on the network). Default password/PIN is 1234 if asked.
    3. So long as your handset has a wap functionality, then gprs can be set up. But for laptops, the modems used are Option Globe Trotter or Samba 75 Falcom modem
    4. Activation for prepaid is instantaneous.
    5. Line 100 is inaccessible coz mob guys are calling (try catering for 5 mil guys with issues!) Call line 400 for gprs issues.
    6. That’s safaricom’s responsibility…
    7. To get the settings ASAP, send blank sms to 4777 (which spells gprs). They come over the air via sms.

  7. JKE, this is a good example of how companies are still blind to the feedback opportunities staring them right in the face. Many Kenyans read your blog and if Safaricom’s communication department was savvy, they would realize that this is a conduit for them to speak to a greater number of people. It also puts a personal face on their company.

    I’m sure we’ll see instances of companies reaching out through the blogosphere – Aston Martin reached out Mike Stopforth in South Africa in just this way.

  8. JKE

    Me thinks its time for

    oh-no-not-safaricom.com

    I will check for domain availability . . .

    – Steve

  9. Your blog is addresing issues of great importance to many people. Myself and about a dozen of my friends are currently trying to get this so called gprs for prepaid subscribers. We r eager n look forward to using this “said-to-be-exellent” services in our home office/study rooms.

  10. No Comments for now, just came across this but will be back soon with comments n Quizes.
    Lots of Regards.

  11. Celtel also provide GPRS to prepaid customers.
    Send a text with the word ALL to the number 232 for OTA settings.
    This automated settings only sems to work on your typical Nokia and Motorola bricks. If you’re using something more exotic like a smartphone, then you have enter the details manually, like I had to.
    :-(
    But its true, you really have to dig around to find out about these things, not even the customer care reps in the shops seem to have a clue!

  12. Thanks guys I had to dig up to know what I could do to get the gprs settings to my phone thanks its a good place to be.

  13. i have tryed to call customer care but nothing.to activite my phone to gprs.please can you sead me the settings.my no.0726134495.thanks inadvance.

  14. pliz help me out i am in kampala and i want to activate my web sites and internet. my phone is NOKIA 6020 your lines for customer care cant go through pliz do something well thanx for your service and God bless you.

  15. thanx to safaricom 4 their services but should do something on the ever busy customer care line.help me activate the internet service on my phone(nokia 6103).thanx in advance.

  16. Hello,

    My name is Phanice, I am a freelance writer, and I am currently working on an article for a business magazine. I am researching on corporate blogging.

    So I want to know: is this a Corporate Blog?

  17. Phanice, if it was a Corporate Blog, I probably wouldn’t write an open letter to Suffericom and ppl (customers!) prolly also wouldn’t consult the blogosphere to receive the required user settings Safaricom has yet clearly failed to put on their website in a visible manner.
    So, no, “Kikuyumoja’s Realm” is my private blog.

  18. what bout this chinese phone available in tha city,everything bout them is perfect apart trying to enable the internet.but they do work perfectly abroad

  19. I am sorry, I was just doing my research and came across your blog, and somebody had mentioned that Safaricom had a blog, which I am now assures they don’t. Are there any corporate blogs in Kenya that you may be aware of? What do you think about the concept of using blogs, corporate blogs as a marketing tool in Kenya?

  20. Yes, I realized later this wasn’t a corporate blog. I am sorry. By the way do you know of any corporate blogs in Kenya?

  21. big up safcom I NEED TO ACCESS MY FPHONE TO INTERNET BUT CUSTOMER CARE 100 IS NEVER AVILABLE PHONE NI MOTORORA W200 PLEASE NI SMS ON HOW TO DO IT ON 0724410566

  22. i would like to update my GPRS but its always hard to get in touch with you plse send me the settings . here is my phone no and make (0727178319 / sumsang sgh-c450) please

  23. would like to update my GPRS but its always hard to get in touch with you plse send me the settings . here is my phone no and make (0727330077)please

  24. Am unable to connect my phone (Zetel N82Y) to the internet please send me settings via sms since yahoo is not responding to my area of work. my phone Number 0721274471

  25. Dear Readers,
    pls note that there also is a new Wiki on mobile data in Africa where we are trying to compile costs, technical HOW-TOs and other useful data on the telecommunications sector. That site is called:

    http://africansignals.com

    If you know how to set up your phone or USB modem in order to get online and would like to share this knowledge (like I’ve done with this initial post in Dec. 2006), please feel free to have a look at http://africansignals.com and contribute there. Thank you!

  26. Hi every one i have got settings for all chinese models and nokia. Both 4 Safaricom and Zain.

  27. Hi David,
    Just got myself one of those chinese cellphones. Mine is n82 nokia. How do I go about the settings on both sim cards. I cannot activate internet and other staff. Pliz advise.
    Thanks in advance.

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