Safaricom Okoa SMS: How to buy text messages when you have no airtime and pay later

What is Safaricom Okoa SMS? It’s a new service by Safaricom where you can borrow SMS bundles and pay later.

The same way you can borrow airtime or data bundles via Safaricom Okoa Jahazi service is the same way this new service works – for SMS.

It allows you, via the Okoa Jahazi menu, to ‘borrow’ text messages.

 Note: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on something I recommend and purchase it, I will receive a commission for the sale – at no extra cost to you. 

I learnt about Okoa SMS just the other day when I received a message from the Telco giant that looked like this:

BREAKING NEWS!! You can now OKOA SMS bundles and keep the conversations going. Dial *131* and Select Option 5 Okoa SMS.’

In this article, I am going to show you how to Okoa SMS using the *131# USSD shortcode.

How to Okoa SMS on a Safaricom line

Dial *131# on your feature phone, smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer (if you are using a SIM in a Safaricom modem for example)

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Select the option that says Okoa SMS. Reply with 5, if you see something like this 5: Okoa SMS

Then reply with the number corresponding to the Okoa SMS offer you want.

The current menu looks like this on my phone.

Welcome to OKOA SMS.
Please reply with:
1: Daily 20 SMS @ Ksh 5
2: Daily 200 SMS @ Ksh 10
3: Daily 500 SMS @ Ksh 20
4: 7 days 400 SMS @ Ksh 30

So, to buy the daily 200 text messages at 10 Shillings offer, reply with the number 2 and tap Send.

Then reply with 1 (Accept) and tap SEND to get the 200 text messages.

Once you get the text messages, you will be able to use them only within 24 hours.

You will also want to settle you KSh 10 Okoa debt as soon as you can so that you don’t get a temporary freeze from the Okoa Jahazi service because of Iate payment.

  1. Dial *131#
  2. Reply with 5 to access the Okoa SMS menu
  3. Reply with 2 to get 200 text messages for example
  4. Finally, reply with 1 to Accept
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What if you don’t want to use the Safaricom Okoa SMS to get text messages

You can follow the guide I wrote awhile ago on how to buy SMS bundles via the *188# USSD shortcode. Even if you don’t have airtime. How?

  • By dialing *131# to Okoa airtime via Okoa Jahazi
  • And then using the airtime you borrow to buy the SMS bundle of your choice on your Safaricom line.

Why would one do this? Why not just use the new Okoa SMS menu to get the text messages you can use and pay for later when you recharge your line?

Let’s say you want to purchase other Safaricom SMS offers that are listed in the Okoa SMS menu, this might become a good idea.

For example, you might Okoa airtime, and then use it to do the following:

  • Buy monthly SMS bundles via *188#. At the time of writing this post, the only SMS bundles you can get via the Okoa SMS menu are the daily and 7-day bundles.
  • Buy calls and SMS without expiry via the *544# shortcode.
  • Buy Special SMS offers via *188#
  • Buy My5 unlimited SMS bundle via *188#
  • Buy text messages / SMS bundle for another Safaricom phone number via *188#
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That is all you need to know about the new service.

I think it is a great way to get text messages to use when you run out of airtime and you are in a place where you can’t quickly recharge your line via M-PESA, scratch cards or debit / credit cards.

To learn more about Safaricom SMS bundles, read these other articles on

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