Airtel eats into Safaricom, Telkom Kenya’s market

Airtel Money and Safaricom M-Pesa shops
Airtel Money and Safaricom M-Pesa shops adjacent to each other in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Airtel Kenya registered gains in market share during the three months to March 2018, eating into the pie of market leader Safaricom #ticker:SCOM and rival Telkom Kenya.

Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) data released yesterday indicates that Airtel gained 2.5 percentage points raising its market share to 19.7 per cent as it signed up new customers and made inroads in voice, data and short message services at the expense of Safaricom and Telkom Kenya.

“Airtel's mobile subscription grew by 18.2 per cent to post 8.7 million subscriptions from 7.3 million recorded during the previous period,” noted the CA.

During the period under review, Safaricom’s market share shrunk by 2.1 percentage points from 69.1 per cent posted in the previous quarter to 67 per cent even though it retained its market leader tag. Telkom Kenya saw a marginal drop in market share in the period from nine per cent recorded in the last quarter to 8.6 per cent.

While Safaricom lost 6,011 mobile subscribers to close at 29.5 million subscriptions, Telkom Kenya lost 55,563 customers during the same period.


On voice traffic, Airtel recorded a total of 3.6 billion minutes which was an increase from 2.5 billion minutes recorded during the previous quarter, a 44 per cent gain. Subsequently, this helped its market share by mobile voice traffic to grow by 6.7 percentage points to stand at 28.7 per cent.

“This increase in mobile voice minutes is attributed to the additional 1.3 million mobile subscriptions gained by the operator during the period under review,” said the CA in the report.

Safaricom was on the losing end registering a six percentage points drop in its market shares for mobile voice traffic to stand at 66.5 per cent during the quarter. Telkom Kenya’s share of voice traffic dropped by 0.6 percentage points to stand at 4.6 per cent.

Airtel made further inroads into SMS traffic growing the number of SMSs originating from its network from 557.9 million messages to 659.2 million messages in the period under review resulting in a market gain of 4.4 per cent.

Safaricom, on the other hand, recorded a 17.5 per cent drop in SMSs sent from its network to 14.1 billion leading to a 1.4 percentage point drop in SMS market share. Telkom Kenya recorded a decline of 13.8 percent in its total SMS traffic.

Airtel recorded a gain of 4.6 percentage points in mobile data and Internet subscriptions to post a market share of 23.1 per cent as Safaricom’s market share in this segment reduced by 4.4 percentage points to 68.4 per cent.