Telecommunications giant Safaricom has recorded a 70 percent growth in data usage among its customers following the government’s directive to close schools and put businesses on hold in an effort to curb the spreading of the Coronavirus.
The quarantine directive was relayed by the government last month following the recording of the first coronavirus case in Kenya. As at April 15, 2020, Kenya had 216 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
According to Safaricom, following the administration’s order, most of Kenya’s working class have been forced to carry out their job duties from home and this has led to a high demand of mobile data packages offered by telcos such as Safaricom. The telco similarly revealed that mobile phone data usage increased 35 percent, over the period, as users streamed movies and used social media platforms like Facebook.
Ever since the first case of the coronavirus was recorded in the country, Safaricom has unveiled counter measures to halt the spreading of the disease. In early March, for example, the telco announced that all M-PESA customers can Send Money for free for transactions of KES 1,000 and below for a 90 day period.
In the same month, Safaricom similarly partnered with public transport sector players to accept cashless payments through M-PESA in the ongoing battle to combat the spread of the Coronavirus. The partnership has seen crew from partnering public transit firms accepting fares through their phone numbers.
“Many businesses are seeing an increase in demand to accept M-PESA payments due to the ongoing concerns around the Coronavirus and our recent move to enable Kenyans send M-PESA transactions of KES 1,000 and below for free. Our partnership with the different public transit players brings the convenience and safety of M-PESA to this crucial sector given the widespread uptake of public transport across the country,” said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit -Chief Financial Services Officer, Safaricom- said then.