Telkom, Airtel etch away at Safaricom market lead

Telkom, Airtel etch away at Safaricom market lead
Harun Karanja, the owner of Facebook Curio Shop, uses his mobile phone to post photographs of artefacts in his Facebook Curio Shop account near the Rift Valley town of Mai Mahiu, Kenya March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Kenya’s telecommunications sector is undergoing a major shakeup that is seeing the competition in the lucrative industry rise to new levels.

According to the latest report by the Communications Authority (CA) on the second quarter statistics report for the 2017/2018 financial year, Safaricom lost ground on its major competitors signaling significant change in the nation’s telecommunications space.

Safaricom market share has shrunk by 2.8 percent in the three months leading up to December 2017 from the last report to close of the year with the market share standing at 69.1 percent.

Safaricom main competitors, Airtel and Telkom saw their subscriptions soar by 19.7 and 11.8 percent to close the year with 7.3 million and 3.8 million subscribers respectively.

Airtel and Telkom also chipped away at Safaricom’s share of voice traffic and data subscriptions in the country to end the year with a growth margin of 73.3 and 3.1 percent respectively in terms of voice traffic in minutes compared to Safaricom who saw their voice traffic sink by 1.2 percent.

With regards to data subscriptions, Airtel and Telkom data subscriptions rose by 2.8 and 0.5 percent respectively between September and December 2017 while Safaricom’s share dipped by 3.2 percent against its two competitors.

In spite of the depressed growth across the sector, Safaricom largely remained as a dominant force in the telecommunications industry in 2017 over its direct competition with 29 million subscribers.

Kenya’s telco sector remains competitive to go alongside the Communications Authority expectation of the industry going into the future.

The Communications Authority is expected to put measures in place to bolster competition in the industry as it seeks to bring on board new investment opportunities for the industry going forward.

Interoperability among mobile operators is one of the factors expected to foster growth in the telecommunications space.

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Story By Kepha Muiruri
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