March 22, 2017, Safaricom unveils a new bundle aimed at “the hustler”. Dubbed Flex, this new bundle would let Safaricom customers buy Flex units using their airtime and use the units for either voice calls, sms or data without any pre-set allocations to either. The people I have interacted with don’t seem to understand exactly how this new bundle works. However, before we get to explaining how Flex works, again, lets first define a hustler. defines a hustler as an enterprising person determined to succeed; go-getter. Urban dictionary has a more crude definition of a hustler but I will pick the best, “a hustler is the way one lives his life. Going out on the streets or wherever making money and working hard for it. A hustler is not lazy he’s consistently out earning money.”

I know you’re wondering why I would start by defining the word hustler, but be patient, we’re getting there. Safaricom is marketing Flex as a product for a hustler, the “biz person”. To my understanding, this is the group of people who either have a 9 to 5 job plus a side-hustle, or just run a small business that they have dedicated their time to. All that, I have no problem with. My issue comes in with the pricing of Flex units and the whole concept around the product.

The daily bundle which gives you 115 Flex units goes for Ksh. 100, the weekly bundle gets you 700 Flex units at Ksh. 600 and the monthly bundle gets you 3,100 Flex units at Ksh. 2,500. Just take a minute to look at those prices. I am not sure which metrics Safaricom used to come up with these prices but lets do some logical thinking.

Spending Ksh. 100 per day is not a small thing. Maybe its just me, but if I am hustling I will try as much as possible to spend less on my airtime. Safaricom knows this as they acknowledge that their target market are those people who switch between Airtel and Orange in search of “value for their money”.

People switch between Airtel and Orange because they are cheaper. Apart from the issues airtel has due to its poor network coverage, they offer great value when it comes to airtime, especially data. Orange is just on another level when it comes to value for money. Here’s a snippet of the comments we got on Facebook after we posted the Flex story.

Clearly people are not buying into Flex. The point of Flex is to allow customers to use their airtime for whatever they want, when they need to. This sounds good, but shouldn’t this have been Blaze from the beginning? (Hopefully you remember what Blaze is).

The modern day hustler leverages the power of social media to better themselves. This means that they rely a lot on mobile data as opposed to sms and calling (No, I don’t have stats to back this up). Flex misses the mark, its lowest daily offering is a bit too expensive for “the hustler” and if it were really FLEXible, Safaricom would allow purchases of any amount of Flex units.

If you’re going to give a product the name “Flex”, then let it be as Flexible as it can get.

Using the usage definition of Flex units; 1 Flex unit gets you 3MB of data or 20 seconds talk time or 3 text messages. Holding this constant, I do not understand what is stopping Safaricom from allowing its customers to buy Flex units at cheaper, user defined price points.

Kenya Power does not dictate that you need to spend Ksh. 500 every month to get a certain amount of pre-paid tokens, you buy the amount you want and you get the corresponding tokens. Safaricom should take a leaf off this tree. Let Flex be truly flexible. Want to spend Ksh. 20? You can. You will just get the corresponding amount of Flex units to the amount you choose.

Let’s look at the competition, Airtel Unliminet daily for Ksh. 100 gets you 150MB of data, 30 minutes Airtel to Airtel talk time, 30 minutes Airtel to other networks talk time, 500 text messages and up to 100MB of WhatsApp, Facebook & Twitter for free. That’s why they keep winning, even without the flexibility.

Dear Safaricom, the hustler does not want to spend Ksh. 100 everyday, the hustler wants cheaper options, unless what you’re aiming for is indeed higher up the food chain. If you’re going to give a product the name “Flex”, then let it be as flexible as it can get.

*The opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not reflect Techweez opinion on Safaricom’s Flex bundle