Who doesn’t like free things? Tell me and I’ll ask for an explanation. We all like and enjoy offers that are money-saving and give more goodies, not so? Also, some factions have said free things aren’t all good or are shady in a way. More like be wary or suspicious of free offerings as there might be a catch or clause. You can imagine the delight and brim on my face when I heard Safaricom has a free WhatsApp data package.
Technically you’ll need to get the requisite Safaricom data package but when your initial data runs out, you enjoy free WhatsApp till its validity runs out. Also, Safaricom claims it is an unlimited use of WhatsApp. This kind of means you should be able to use the full features of the WhatsApp application without hindrances.
So here I was enjoying WhatsApp chats after I had run out of data and believed all was well and rosy as promised. I became dumbfounded when I had to send images from our day out at the Nairobi Arboretum to a friend and it didn’t upload. Huh! What? Is something wrong with the network? Okay, I’ll give it a while maybe the file size is big. Seconds turned to minutes and minutes turned to hours. I can clearly see text chats coming and my responses going out, so something might be happening here.
I checked with other friends on the Safaricom network to make sure it was a general problem, nope it wasn’t. Turns out, I was in this alone. Do you have mobile data I was asked? Ummm nope, I run out of it but Safaricom said I should enjoy free WhatsApp usage afterwards till the bundle duration is over. So I decided to see what else didn’t work. I tried checking stories of friends and nope that didn’t load up as well.
So no WhatsApp Stories, no images, audio and video messages? Wow. The only thing that works or goes through are text chats? Phew, I didn’t see that coming. It felt like going to a restaurant and getting extra free nyama choma. That’s nice right? Well until you eat it and it feels half-cooked in your mouth, yup. That’s how I felt upon my realization of Safaricom’s free WhatsApp offer.
Speaking to a Safaricom customer care agent, I was told the terms and conditions (T&C’s) – [which isn’t available on the Safaricom website, or readily available for consumers to access] – of the offer apply. So let’s take a look at the T&C’s.
The Safaricom free unlimited WhatsApp starts only after you use up the initial data bundle you buy. Users will not be able to do video and audio calls. Safaricom says picture and video messages should go through or work. As well as the ability to watch stories.
If you are having issues as I am, I’m made to believe it is a systems issue. Of what essence will it be if we all are having systems issues with a good offer? Well, I leave you to decide that. As much as Safaricom calls it unlimited, I believe it has a fair usage policy and cap on the data usage. This was confirmed to me. A daily unlimited WhatsApp bundle subscriber has a cap of 500MB. A weekly subscriber has a cap of 3.5GB and a monthly subscriber has a 10GB cap on the usage.
So it isn’t unlimited after all. I have heard some say the speed drops as well. Surely unless there’s a way to do a bandwidth speed test to measure a WhatsApp app speed? I haven’t been able to confirm this. It might appear I’m not the only one baffled by this half-baked free offer.
It’s good and an okay offer if you are a text chat person or if it works as Safaricom says it should. But when you like sharing, checking and commenting on stories, well. Also if you are a video or audio person or your friends are, then sorry this isn’t for you. Except it works as mentioned. kindly share your experience with me or tell me if it works for you. Asante sana.
Safaricom recently launched a new app giving users features that include more security and control.
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