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What is the M-Kopa Phone, Who is it For and Should You Buy it?

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m-kopa phone

In partnership with Safaricom and Samsung, pay as you go solar energy company, M-Kopa, has launched a smartphone to add to its portfolio. Dubbed the M-Kopa phone, the smartphone is a rebranded Samsung Galaxy A10s that’s aimed at low-income earners in upcountry who cannot afford to pay the retail price all at once.

The device has been launched today and so far the reception from the media fraternity has been, well:

This is outrageous by any means, and we wouldn’t advise any of our readers to subscribe to a plan that is obviously predatory – Techweez

The financing plan sounds good but if it were me I would just save that cash and go get the phone for Ksh.13,000 from Jumia or any Samsung shop. Don’t go for this deal – TechTrends

…while at face value the Kshs 60 per day sounds reasonable, in the long run, the smartphone being offered ends up being more expensive than if one just bought it from the shops straight away – AndroidKenya

…capitalism makes lives really hard for people who make little money. If this contract allowed for the device to cost like KES. 15,000 or even KES. 17,000 it would be plausible, and I’d recommend anyone to go for it. But at more than double the cost of the device, this is unfair and unfortunate for everyone who won’t do the math – Tech-ish

So before we get into whether or not the M-Kopa phone is worth it, let’s take a few steps back.

What is M-Kopa phone?

The M-Kopa phone is a plan that the solar company launched a while back that would allow customers to purchase select phones through a subscription model. This means that users would get a phone and pay for it on a day-to-day basis to keep using the phone and at the end of the period, the phone would them become fully theirs.

The first phones to launch with this model were the Nokia 2.1 and Nokia 2.2, where customers would pay a downpayment of 3k and equal daily instalments of 60 bob for 330 days. This is the same model that has been applied with the Samsung Galaxy A10s, only that the downpayment is slightly higher and the time period is 365 days.

If you are interested in getting yourself the M-Kopa phone, here’s the procedure:

  • Walk into a Safaricom shop or M-Kopa outlet with your National ID
  • Pay a downpayment of KES 3,500 through M-Pesa
  • Walk away with your phone

From then on, you will be required to pay 60 bob per day to use your phone through M-Kopa’s paybill number 333222. Failure to pay will result in the phone getting locked and you losing access to it. This remote locking is possible through Samsung’s Knox security feature.

In the case that the phone locks before you make your daily payment, the device will allow you to unlock the phone once for 5 minutes to make the payment. M-Kopa also says that users can pay any amount above 60 bob and that amount will be credited to their account, for instance, paying 600 will get you 10 days of usage.

Who is it for?

The question of the target market is one that requires attention. According to M-Kopa, the phone is targeted at people in rural areas and those in urban areas but have low income and need a phone right away without having the full price of the phone.

The speculation is that the person needs this phone for their day-to-day business thus will the phone will end up earning him more money.

A person familiar with the project also revealed to Gadgets Africa that during the pilot of the A10s, over 500 phones were ordered through the program… hmm…

Should You Buy it?

At the end of the 365 days, M-Kopa phone users will have paid a total of KES 25,399, assuming that they do not clear their entire bill before the stated period. This is almost double the recommended retail price of the phone which goes for around KES 13,000 or 15k if you get it from Safaricom shop.

However, this huge price at the end of the period raises a few concerns in regards to the product:

  1. The phone is not covered by insurance, which means that in case the screen breaks or it’s stolen, you will have to bear the cost of repair and still pay the 60-bob for the remaining of the period
  2. The 60-bob price does not bundle any airtime or data which means that M-Kopa phone users will have to dig deeper into their pockets.
  3. The device is the single SIM variant of the Samsung Galaxy A10s which may lock out users who prefer dual SIM devices.

If the question was whether you should buy the 13k Samsung Galaxy A10s, then yes, you should. As for those interested in getting the M-Kopa phone and don’t mind the interest charged then go right ahead and do it.

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  1. Nice

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