An unexplained set of hawkers ply the virtual streets of Kenya’s social media. They claim to sell Safaricom data bundles at ridiculously low prices, prices way below what the company has on offer at its official virtual shops.
With Twitter at the very forefront of the business, I logged onto my Twitter account (using official Safaricom bundles, of cause) to search for a vendor. I was spoilt for choice. There are so many bundles mwitu vendors over there, perhaps more that the evening hawkers in the streets of Nairobi.
Offers are as low as 3GB for 500/- on the high end and up to fifty shillings for 200MBs. Normally, you would have to pay 250/-. With all caution to the wind, I tempted fate and decided to purchase the bundles. My vendor had a complete Lipa na Mpesa channel set up and a functional till number. All that my vendor required was a confirmation of my transaction and I had the MBs with me.
The data bundle is valid for 60 days and connection speed are as good as for bundles you would purchase directly from Safaricom. Comparing my experience with other buyers, I came to the conclusion that though risky, it could be a viable business that will feed your internet hungry smartphone with the MBs you need to stay connected.
Eager to know what Safaricom has to say about the entire thing, I strove to compose a tweet addressed to the official Safaricom account but stopped on my tracks when I saw a valid response flash by my TL.
@8all5Deep The agents selling the bundles are not part of Safaricom as advised , trade at your own risk ^VM
With Safaricom distancing itself from these vendors, I sought to understand how the sellers lay hands on bundles they can afford to dispense so cheaply. One vendor claimed to get them on a wholesale basis where purchases of 25GB and above are accepted. (am yet to get a statement from Safaricom on this). Other vendors obstinately declined to give answers to the many Twitter users who sought to understand where these bundles come from.
RT @SirongaEdwin: Clarification: Bundles mwitu are legitimate. We buy from Safaricom in bulk like 25GB. Stop asking me many questions
Facts only; the chips mwitu business is an heaven sent solution to the normal internet user in Kenya. Safaricom offers the strongest network accompanied by a notoriously expensive price tag. There is no solid answer as to where these bundles come from and if Safaricom won’t be freezing them in the near future since such business would definitely undermine its profit margins.
In the words of the famous Temple Run game, ‘Take the Idol if You Dare.’ If you feel pumped up and willing to take the dare, buy the bundles and burn through them before Safaricom catches up with the entire thing (which I am sure they will) – assuming that your vendor doesn’t run with your money instead.
Disclaimer: Research almost OPTIMALLY conducted via Tweets, Facebook posts, interactions and observing TLs