Pay-as-you-go solar energy company, M-Kopa, has partnered with Safaricom and tech giant, Samsung, to launched a smartphone pay-as-you-go solution in Kenya.
The devices, M-Kopa phones, are actually selected and branded Samsung Galaxy A10 devices, and are aimed at low-income earners in rural areas who can’t afford to pay the full price of the phone at once. Hence, the partnership allows users pay for the devices in installments. However they are still remotely controlled by M-Kopa to ensure compliance by users.
This way users are able to own premium Samsung devices at an affordable price for them. And for the companies they are able to increase their current customer base since many people will most likely key into the project.
“The smart phone has become an integral part of our daily lives due to its outsized impact in linking people to opportunities. At Safaricom we are keen on partnerships that enable us to empower more customers.”Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer, Safaricom.
Users that want to get the phones on the scheme will have to pay a deposit of Sh3500 ($37.43) . Afterwards they will be required to pay Sh60 ($0.6), every day for a year to fully own the phone.
This will mean that in 365 days, the buyer will have paid Sh21900. In addition to a down payment of Sh3500, the total payment will be Sh25400.
Which looks exploitative when you consider that it’s about double the retail price of Sh12,900.
However being able to pay in installments has its several benefits especially in emerging areas where smartphone penetration is still growing. People will be able to purchase the latest devices without having to spend all they have on these new devices.
The flip side however is that users will have to pay more (selling price plus retailer’s interest) just as the case of M-Kopa. Moving forward, such schemes could be important as more premium devices being churned out by manufacturers are coming with better features.
This means users need an upgrade. But with phone prices consistently soaring above $1000 it becomes more difficult to do so for many, hence a installment plan could come in very handy.
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