Telkom Kenya has launched the Changa Bundle to enable prepaid customers to share data, voice minutes and texts. They now have the opportunity to acquire 100 GB of data, 200 on-net minutes, 50 off-net minutes and 200 SMS for KES 1,500.00 (US $12.67). This Changa Bundle can be shared with three to five friends and family members.
The nominator or main purchaser first buys the bundle, then sets up a group with at least three and at most five members. The nominator’s number is subscribed automatically. Changa Bundle groups will then be set up within 24 hours, from Monday to Friday.
Sharing of mobile services makes sense in an economic environment in which a significant number of potential consumers are extremely budget-conscious. Telkom’s Changa Bundle appears to be tailored to such a market, and with it a group of friends or family members can share voice, text and data allowances. Perhaps the nominator or original subscriber is paying the entire charge and therefore treating the others to free connectivity. This would make sense if the friends or family members are poor or if the nominator is much better-off than they are.
Alternately—and likely more commonly—the group of users shares the charge more or less evenly. In that case, one might wonder whether the same goal could be met by the users simply purchasing prepaid services with one-third to one-fifth the amount of allowances. However, such small allowances may not be possible under the operator’s plan structure. More important, the sharing process permits flexibility, so that different amounts of voice minutes, etc., can be apportioned among users. As we have often noted, flexibility is a key desire among mobile users across a very wide range of different types of markets—not only affluent ones.
As far as Telkom is concerned, the sharing bundle is a good way to get as many potential customers involved as possible. If certain Kenyans feel they cannot afford a mobile plan of their own, or feel they can only use a small amount of data in addition to voice and text, sharing with a group of friends may feel like a safe and manageable way to partake of these services. If not now, then soon they may graduate to purchasing prepaid plans of their own. Making use of someone else’s mobile services may be just what is needed to convince them that they should extend themselves to subscribe.