Safaricom introduces reverse calls, allowing callers to transfer call costs to receivers

All of Safaricom’s 31 million subscribers now stand to benefit from a new feature that the telecommunications company is introducing today: reverse calls.

Now, for those who were not there in past years (the 90s and early 2000s), reverse calling simply means making a call at the expense of the recipient.

Ordinarily, one pays for the cost of the calls they make one way or the other – immediately for pre-paid subscribers and at the end of the month for those on postpaid plans. Normally, when one receives a call, they are not charged anything. This is only untrue when one is roaming abroad.

Given the popularity of call back, i.e. where one either prompts the other to call them using a free facility like the one Safaricom provides (Please Call Me – up to 5 times a day free) or via other means (like flashing where one hangs up before the other party picks the phone so as not to be billed), it means that there is an opportunity for reverse calling to come through for many. Just like it came through for some of us in our high school days through Telkom Kenya’s landlines.

So, in this case, what will happen is that one will initiate a call just like they would any other call with the only difference, according to Safaricom, being that they will need to add # before the phone number. So, for instance, if I am calling 0722000000 and want them to pay for the call, I’d key in #0722000000 and then place the call.

For the recipient, nothing changes as well but they will be notified via a voice prompt once they receive the call if they want to accept the reverse call and confirm the same by pressing 1. Simple.

“The cost of the call will be equivalent to the receiver’s normal call cost,” says Safaricom in a statement.

Reverse calls are only possible for Safaricom-to-Safaricom (on-net) calls. Reverse calls are not available for off-net (calls to other networks), roaming and international calls.