As the country and the world at large continue to fight COVID-19 through among other measures hygiene and social distancing, we have one less point of possible transmission to worry about and that is the newspaper vendor’s station. This is one place that ordinarily people congregate every morning to leaf through the day’s papers and banter about the politics of the season. As harsh as it may sound, it is one place that the virus can spread just as easily as a busy market place or bus stop for example. And yet, news are an integral part of society and must be gathered and spread to the masses on a daily basis. The newspaper cannot be ignored.
With the severe but necessary restrictions on movement that we have had to live with, it was only a matter of time before unavailability of hard copy newspapers was felt among ardent readers. But in a new partnership between Safaricom and media houses in Kenya, newspapers will now be made available to all smartphone customers at the cost of Ksh.20/- per user.
About the partnership:
- The cost of buying newspapers will be deducted from the customer’s airtime.
- Data usage is already included in the price of 20/- so purchasing a newspaper will not eat into Safaricom subscribers’ data bundles.
- Customers will however need to have their data on when accessing the portal as each purchase is linked to their mobile phone number for ease of access.
- Users will not be required to register, sign up or download and install any app.
- This partnership carries the two biggest print media houses – The Standard Group and The Nation Media Group.
- From the Standard Group, users will have access to The Standard, Saturday Standard, Sunday Standard and The Nairobian.
- Nation Media Group will have Daily Nation, Saturday Nation, Sunday Nation and The Business Daily.
- Purchased publications will appear under “My Newspaper” tab.
- Once a newspaper is purchased it will be available to the reader for 7 days.
How to purchase a newspaper:
- Newspapers can be accessed by dialling *550# and following the prompts.
- Alternatively, customers can go to Safaricom.com, select the ‘Discover’ option, followed by ‘Newspapers’. From there they can select a paper of choice and go ahead and purchase.
How the process looks like via *550#
The Safaricom.com portal interface:
Safaricom’s decision to get into this partnership is part of the company’s contribution towards the fight against COVID-19 by enabling news seekers to have their daily fix while still limiting their movements. It is largely informed by recognizing how quickly the world is evolving, and the need to put customer convenience at the fore through digitization of as many services as possible. It is also a further commitment from the telco to enable more businesses to harness the power of the internet to meet the needs of their customers.
Among other initiatives that Safaricom has come up with in the fight against COVID-19 are the zero rating of transaction costs or making purchases using Bonga points from platforms like e-pharmacy MyDawa, enabling the use of Bonga Points either for shopping, paying hospital bills, NSSF or for charity, and offering free access to educational platforms like Eneza Education’s Shupavu291.