bigFor several weeks now, Safaricom has not been selling its internet enabled digital TV decoders. The decoders were only available at their official retail outlets, but they’ve been missing from the shelves.

It has emerged that the decision to cease the sale was made after it emerged that the Wi-Fi hotspot generated by the decoder was not strong enough to allow indoor internet access. According to CEO Bob Collymore, the ‘Wi-Fi was not going through the walls’, and thus cannot be used ideally in a house.

“We suspended the sale of the decoders a couple of weeks ago. We are currently doing software upgrade. The decoders had issues but the biggest one was on Wi-Fi which was not going through the walls,” said Mr Collymore in an interview with Business Daily.

The Big Box was introduced into the market in May this year, with two payment plans offered. One being a one-off fee of Sh10,000, while the other was a fee of Sh5000 and 6 monthly installments of Sh1000 each.

The cost hurdle aside, it took nearly a month for Safaricom to get the internet working right. Numerous software upgrades were attempted before the eventual successful one.

Bob Collymore added that the 1500 customers who had already bought the decoders will receive free software upgrades. It may however be a different case if the problems turns out be more than a software issue, requiring recall.

The CEO further revealed that the decoders will be back in the market by end of September, but did not state whether they’ll review the pricing.

The decoders are made by South Korean company Kaonmedia.