Airtel expands into home Internet space

Airtel Kenya Chief Executive Officer Ashish Malhotra.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Airtel is set to rival players in Kenya’s home internet market that has remained under the tight grip of Safaricom, with new broadband services targeting users in their homes and businesses.

Dubbed the ‘Unlimited Home Broadband’ offering, the product is also set to rival those of other major operators, including Jamii Telecommunications Limited (JTL) and Wananchi Group-owned Zuku.

As of the close of last December, Safaricom dominated the market with a 36.7 percent market share, followed by JTL and Zuku at 23.7 percent and 19.6 percent respectively, according to data from the Communications Authority of Kenya.

Airtel’s offering comes with a portable router meaning the internet is not fixed--a shift the telco claimed would guarantee consumers better and uninterrupted connectivity.

“We are pleased to introduce Airtel Kenya’s Unlimited Plans. They signify our commitment to providing unmatched connectivity solutions and embody our vision for individuals and businesses empowered by seamless connectivity,” said Airtel Kenya managing director Ashish Malhotra.

The fifth generation (5G)-enabled router has been touted as a potential solution to the slow uptake of the super-fast network service on the premise that it will eliminate the need for users to acquire the highly-priced 5G-ready smartphones, a factor that has kept the service out of the reach of many.

Currently, most 5G-supported phones are mid to high-end devices that include the Samsung Galaxy S and Fold series, Huawei and Oppo 5G devices among others, retailing from Sh25,000 to over Sh150,000.

The country’s second-largest telco unveiled the 5G mobile broadband network mid-last year, months after Safaricom had launched the service in October 2022.

Airtel says that it has, during the one year, doubled its 5G footprint from 372 sites in 16 counties it had at the launch to over 690 covering 39 counties to date.

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