Kenya's telecommunication firms Airtel and Telkom increase voice call and SMS charges

Last week, Kenya's telecommunication giant, Safaricom announced it will be hiking its call rates and short message service (SMS).

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Last week, Kenya's telecommunication giant, Safaricom announced it will be hiking its call rates and short message service (SMS).

Effective from 17th midnight headline price for voice calls and data will increase by 30 cents and SMS by 10 cents.

The company attributed recent changes to taxes affecting their services that were passed through the Finance Act 2018. In particular the Excise Duty tax applicable on Voice, SMS and Data services that was increased from 10% to 15%. This is in addition to the prevailing Value Added Tax applicable to mobile services at the rate of 16%.

And now Airtel and Telkom have also increased their voice call and SMS charges by 30 cents and 10 cents respectively following the government’s decision to raise excise duty from 10 to 15 percent.

In a statement, Airtel Kenya managing director Prasanta Das Sarma and Telkom chief executive Aldo Mareuse said the changes take effect at midnight.

“In view of the recent increase in excise duty, other taxes and rising input costs, we are constrained to increase our headline voice and data tariffs by 30 cents each and our SMS tariff by 10 cents effective from midnight tonight,” said Mr Das Sarma, adding that Airtel mobile data bundle prices will not be affected.

The Airtel boss said the increment will however not affect Airtel money tariffs since no transaction fee is charged on Airtel to Airtel cash transfers.

On its part, Telkom announced that off-net calls will now be charged at Sh3.30 per minute, on-net calls Sh2.30 per minute and SMS (any-net) at Sh1.10cts per SMS.

Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) price for mobile data will also see an increase of 30 cents per MB translating to a new Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) price of Sh4.30.

Mobile post-paid services offered by Telkom will also attract a 15 per cent excise duty, up from 10 percent while broadband and fixed voice services will see the introduction of 15 percent excise duty.

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