A couple of days ago, Safaricom announced changes about their Home Fibre product. They maintained the doubled speeds that were introduced in March 2020 following the start of the pandemic. This was a good move because users had become used to better speeds (than the paid for).
What wasn’t revealed was that the changes also introduced a fair usage policy, meaning that Home Fibre is no longer unlimited. These changes are tucked in the product’s terms and conditions and will become effective from March 2021.
The Safaricom Home Fibre plans are subject to a Fair Usage Policy with usage limits and throttle speeds as indicated in the table below. Upon reaching the Fair Usage limit for the package, the speeds will be throttled to 1Mbps for Bronze plans and 3Mbps for Silver, Gold, and Diamond plans for the remainder of the validity period of the subscription.
This means that customers will have up to 1TB of data that once exhausted will see their speeds lowered.
Here are the details:
|Package||Speeds (Mbps)||Price||Fair usage limit||Speeds after FUP (Mbps)|
So, let’s see what this means: if you have the entry level Bronze package, you will only have 500 GB of data to use, after which your speeds drop to 1 Mbps. For context, that can only happen if you use 16 GB of data on a daily basis for 30 days. That’s a substantial amount, but it is possible to hit that limit (for people who download a lot of files or use data-heavy programs and apps).
Safaricom says that FUP has been designed based on actual data usage. This means the operator checked how customers use the product, and then developed the policy around that pattern.
Safaricom adds that almost 90 percent of Home Fibre customers do not hit the limits (500 GB – 1 TB). Those who do are actually resellers (the operator does not do that) because the product is a Home service and is not designed to be available for resale.
Naturally, customers will be concerned by this development, especially since they seek some security with a fiber connection vs data bundles. Our question is, if 90 percent of customers do not hit the data cap, what is the need for limiting the speeds then? Clamping down resellers who have carved a business model out of the product is probably justifiable, but only if the average user does not see a change in their experience.
This part is not exactly a shocker, since whether to absorb a set up cost or not is a business decision that a company has to make. New customers will be required to pay KES 3000 for installation services, which include the router. Previously, the exercise was free.