Safaricom’s voice share rises to 70pc


Safaricom Limited's headquarters. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Safaricom’s #ticker:SCOM share of the voice market hit a four-year high of 70.4 percent in the three months ended December, cementing the telco’s leadership as rivals struggled.

Data from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows that the market share of Safaricom’s closest rival Airtel Kenya dropped 1.4 percentage points to 27.6 percent in the review period.

This is the highest share of the voice market that Safaricom has held in four years and the closest it came close to this was 70 percent in June 2018.

The latest shares of the voice market are based on the minutes that subscribers spent on calls. Airtel and Telkom Kenya have over the years struggled to cut Safaricom’s dominance in the voice market despite unveiling offers to make calls cheaper.

The regulator attributed the increase in Safaricom’s market share to its offer that allowed callers to get bonus airtime after hitting daily targets.

“Safaricom Stori Ibambe 500 percent promotion awarded eligible customers with 500 percent bonus airtime upon achieving their daily target,” CA says in the latest review of the telecommunications industry.

The offer prompted protests from Airtel who said that the promotion was lower than the actual costs of the calling, giving Safaricom an upper hand in efforts to stay clear of its rivals.

Safaricom’s offer saw subscribers call for 14.5 billion minutes on its network and across the other telcos in the period under review up from 14 billion minutes in the preceding quarter.

Airtel posted a drop to 5.6 billion minutes in the period from 5.92 billion minutes while Telkom Kenya’s subscribers called for 385.5 million minutes, up from 381.3 million minutes.

The jump in Safaricom’s numbers saw the total talk time across all telcos rise to 20.608 billion minutes up from 20.36 billion, with CA attributing the increase to offers on calling rates.

Telcos’ revenue from voice services will drop significantly if the regulator’s decision to cut mobile termination rates (MTR) is upheld by the industry’s tribunal.

The CA wants to cut MTR per minute to Sh0.12 from Sh0.99, lowering fees for interconnecting calls besides inspiring a new price war.

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