Firm ‘allowed’ to trade in Safaricom Bonga points

Nairobi-based IT firm Onfon Media says Safaricom has given it the green light to buy and sell the giant telco’s loyalty points popularly known as Bonga Points.

This comes nearly a year after Safaricom shut down the platform, saying it had not been consulted.

Onfon Media is owned by businessman Dennis Makori and offers services in bulk SMS, mobile banking and short codes.

Mr Makori told the Business Daily that the firm got Safaricom’s approval and that the platform is already operational, trading over 100,000 points a day after it was relaunched on Sunday.

“We recently held a meeting with Safaricom and explained our business model to them where they approved the concept after analysing it for nearly a year. We are happy to be back in the market,” said Mr Makori in an interview.

Safaricom had not responded to our queries by the time of going to press.

“They noticed the platform will attract more subscribers to its network and help more customers enjoy the network more,” Mr Makori said, adding that the telco is not earning any commission from the platform.

Subscribers can redeem their Bonga points for cash, adding another layer of options on Safaricom’s offer that largely revolves around trading the points for airtime, data and hardware including mobile phones. Onfon Media put up an aert in the media inviting potential buyers and sellers.

“Dial *464# buy each bonga points at Sh0.25 and sell at Sh0.15,” said the aert in part.

“We have built the exchange and we buy the bonga points at a margin and sell the same at a margin,” said Mr Makori without disclosing further details.

Before the platform was closed by Safaricom in October 2013, Onfon was buying the loyalty points from the subscribers at Sh0.20 each and selling them for Sh0.35, earning a return of 75 per cent.

By then, the platform had handled more than 10,000 orders in the four hours it was on air.

It was not clear whether the points are only traded in Kenya.