Telco, Safaricom, has launched “Niokolee”, a service that allows its users to solicit for airtime top-ups from friends and family. Niokolee is an informal language that loosely translates to ‘Help me out’.
The service is available to both prepaid and postpaid Safaricom customers. Niokolee will enable users to place a request to other Safaricom customers to send them Safaricom airtime, with amounts ranging from Sh10 to Sh100. Users have to dial 444# and select the Niokolee option to place a request. You will then enter the desired amount before keying in the Safaricom number to which the request is being sent and hit okay to finalize the request. The recipient of the request will then get a notification prompting them to either accept or decline the Niokolee request. The person you are requesting credit from needs to have airtime topped up so as to make the transfer to you. “Your friend 07* has requested you to gift them with Sh(amount) Kredo. Reply with 1 to accept or 2 to decline,” the prompt reads.
Should the person accept, the requested amount is transferred to the borrower, with both parties being notified. Responding to the Niokolee request attracts standard SMS charges.
The service is expected to help shore up the telco’s revenues. Safaricom’s profit after tax for the full year ended March 2023 fell 22.2% to hit Sh52.5 billion, down from Sh67.5 million the previous year.