Safaricom Blaze Tariff Review: Why it May Not Be That Blazing

I take it by now you are aware of what Safaricom Blaze is? During it's much hyped debut last year (2016), I will admit to be one of the people that didn't get caught by it's wild fire campaigns. After all, my Safaricom line had up until this time been dismissed to "lighter duties": those of M-PESA only, seeing Safaricom had until to this point been the most unfriendly to a jobless youth's pockets.

Later on when I realized that Blaze was actually a Tariff, and not the run of the mill type but one tailored made for my generation, I decided why not give it a try. Just the idea that I could create my plan sounded fantastic being that I was a regular Airtel's Unliminet user and was rather unhappy of the fact that I was getting hundreds of SMS's going unused every other week.



Create Your Plan - Out of Our Plans

safaricom blaze
Safaricom Blaze

On the surface, Blaze's "Create Your Plan"  idea sounds great but on closer inspection it's not exactly what you may have been led to believe. Safaricom's idea of you creating your own plan is them making several plans from which you can choose from. It's not that different from Airtel's Unliminet and other one-in-all plans. It's only that here you get to move some sliders on your browser, hence giving the illusion of you creating a plan.
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Blaze CYP: Create your "plan" from our plans

What's more, the same problem with Airtel's Unliminet is still here. Mobile network operators are fully aware that nobody uses SMS'es that much nowadays, and that's why they're happy to give you hundreds of them while disproportionately giving you what you actually use (minutes and data). Between the two, Safaricom's Blaze as expected is indisputably the more expensive one however it offers more flexibility in the plans.

Don't quite believe me? Let's take a look at the plans which you "create" from their cheapest offering of ksh.10 daily:
PLAN: BLAZE DAILY @ KSH.10
Sub Plans 1123
Data (MB)1500
Minutes030
SMS0050
PLAN: BLAZE DAILY @ KSH.10
Sub Plans 2123
Data (MB)1230
Minutes0:3602:24
SMS04010
PLAN: BLAZE DAILY @ KSH.10
Sub Plans 3123
Data (MB)369
Minutes1:481:120:36
SMS101010
A quick look at those table gives the impression that it's cheap but truth of the matter it's no different from the standard tariffs. The only exception is SMS'es but the rest is business as usual. The "master rates" from which all the plans are computed are as follows:
  • 1.5mb @ Ksh1
  • 36sec @ Ksh2.0
  • SMS @ Ksh0.20
The minutes rate is typical of Safaricom and offers no discount whatsoever to the money tight blazer. The data rate themselves are typical of all networks if not a little bit expensive.

Now that's just the rate for the Ksh.10 daily plan. The "master rates" change the more money is involved, but things don't get as cheap as you would've expected. As a matter of fact, the minute rate goes up reaching the standard rate of Ksh.4 per min in the normal tariff (Uwezo)

For Ksh.20 daily the "master rate" is as follows:
  • 2mb @ Ksh1
  • 1min @ Ksh4.0
  • SMS @ Ksh0.20
Now let's compare one "sub-plan" from Blaze that is comparable to Airtel's offering in the daily Unliminet 20:
PLANUnliminet Daily @ 20Blaze Daily @ 20
Data (MB)108
Minutes8 (4 to Airtel, 4 to other networks)3
SMS2020
As you can see, Safaricom is still by far the more pocket unfriendly. Airtel actually just recently revised the Unliminet Packages by reducing the Data and splitting the minutes across networks. Had I used the original rates, you'd be surprised. What's more, in Airtel you still get 100MB data for use on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter once your plan's data bundle get exhausted. Just what a Blazer needs.

Without even looking into the weekly and monthly Blaze plans I think this enough proof that Blaze Tariff is far from being cheap plan despite its exclusivity.



Data Only Plans

Being the heavy Internet users, Blaze does tap into this by offering data only plans and some data offers. These data only plans are cheap by Safaricom standards but there are far cheaper rates out there, and I'm not referring to Mwitu Bundles.

At the time of this writing, the blaze bundles at the blazers disposal are as follows:
Power Hour Bundle 150MB @ KSh19 (8MB at KSh1)
Daily 75MB @ KSh30 (2.5MB at KSh1)
Daily 175MB @ KSh50 (3.5MB at KSh1)
Weekly 375MB @ KSh150 (2.5MB at KSh1)
The Power Hour Bundle, which I can't help but think this is an euphemism for something, is a clear winner here but only for time constrained uses. For instance, when you need to download something large (no pun intended). If you however don't mind the time of the hour, you can get a better deal with Airtel's Club Bundle for almost the same price:
250MB Night Data @ KSh20 (valid between Midnight to 6am)
Or even Telkom's New Night Owl Bundle at twice the price:
5GB Night Data @ KSh39 (valid between Midnight to 6am) Yes, that's right: GB not MB.
With regards to the other bundles, the prices are comparable though the competition does have some great offers which are almost similarly priced:
Telkom's Daily Freedom Data @ KSh49: 500MB Data + Free Telkom Calls
Unliminet Modem Daily @ KSh50: 200MB (+"Unlimited" Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter)
Unliminet Modem Weekly @ KSh250: 1GB (+"Unlimited" Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter)
The Airtel Unliminet Modem Bundles do work on Phones and not just modems. Also, you can subscribe to this plan while on the usual Unlminet plan. The speeds are throttled down to 256Kbps once the data gets exhausted, so in real sense you are getting way more data since 256Kbps is not that bad a speed for browsing only. Speeds are however not throttled down for the social media sites.

Now, I haven't included all the available plans out there but I feel this is enough proof that the Blaze bundles are not necessarily the cheapest option out there. Ironically, one may even get better offers still on Safaricom but on Tunukiwa which offers similarly time constrained data bundles. Actually, save for BYOB it can be argued that Blaze has now lost much of it's tailored exclusivity in light of the Tunukiwa offers.


Conclusion

Beyond business as usual, I actually commend Safaricom for their noble efforts. Truth of the matter is that as much as Blaze stands to rake in huge profits, it's at least empowering a lot of youths out there in other ways. I may never use blaze plans seeing I can get better deals from their competition, but I'm willing to stick around if just for Blaze BYOB.

The potential benefits of that I can't downplay, though I’ll admit to not yet having participated in any of its events. Sometimes this makes me wonder how BYOB would’ve have fared if it had stood on its own; if it only were spared of the of the inevitable CPR (corporate profiteering responsibility).


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