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Safaricom voice share falls as Airtel’s jumps to 29.7pc

SCOM

Safaricom headquarters on Nairobi’s Waiyaki Way. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA

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Summary

  • Safaricom’s share of voice market dropped in the period ended June, the first time in a year as its rival Airtel ate into its dominance.
  • Data from the Communications Authority (CA) shows that Safaricom’s share of voice dropped 2.7 percentage points to 68.2 percent or 13.3 billion minutes in the three months to June.
  • Airtel grew its share by a 2.7 percentage points to 29.7 percent or 5.8 billion minutes in the three months ended June, the first time it has grown since December last year.

Safaricom’s #ticker:SCOM share of voice market dropped in the period ended June, the first time in a year as its rival Airtel ate into its dominance.

Data from the Communications Authority (CA) shows that Safaricom’s share of voice dropped 2.7 percentage points to 68.2 percent or 13.3 billion minutes in the three months to June.

Airtel grew its share by a 2.7 percentage points to 29.7 percent or 5.8 billion minutes in the three months ended June, the first time it has grown since December last year.

CA did not disclose what led to the decline in Safaricom’s share but said that its rivals offered promotions, increasing the minutes callers spent on their networks.

“The significant growth is attributed to various promotions offered by the operators during the fiscal year,” CA said in its report for the year ended June.

Safaricom’s fall in share of its voice market came months after expiry of a 90-day calls and mobile data offer dubbed [email protected] Promotion in January.

Airtel’s biggest share of the voice market was in September last year at 34.4 percent but dropped to 29.3 percent in December and further to 27.1 percent in March before recovering in the three months ended June.

Calls from Airtel to other networks lasted for an average of one minute, signalling the telco’s cheaper rates compared to the 0.9 minutes spent from Safaricom to other networks.

The market share for Telkom Kenya— the third biggest player in the sector remained unchanged at 1.9 percent.

CA data shows that subscribers called for 19.49 billion minutes on all networks in the period ended June, a marginal increase from 19.46 billion minutes in the three months to March.

The drop in Safaricom’s call-time and subscriber numbers saw voice revenue drop 4.6 percent to Sh82.55 billion in the year ended March, the first time that revenue from M-Pesa overtook voice to become the telco’s biggest earner.

Safaricom’s net profit for the year to June fell 6.8 percent to Sh68.6 billion, after the coronavirus crisis hit revenue from financial services and calls in the year to the end of March.

Airtel and Telkom have been locked up in competition, leading to offers for bundled calls and mobile data in efforts to ramp up their numbers.