Mobile phone service providers in Kenya are going head on in an effort to stay relevant in a very competitive market. After the initial launch of mobile phone number portability in Kenya, it was anticipated that customers would get to choose their preferred service providers without loosing their original phone numbers; well, we all expected things to be a little smoother than they are. Several analysts were quoted saying that value added services will be a major determining factor rather than call services; it is about time that we need to appreciate their analysis and agree indeed they were right.
Let me start by pin pointing out some of the issues that seem to hamper the success of mobile phone number portability in Kenya, there has been several occasions when service providers accused each other for frustrating their customers migration process to their network of choose, of course we all expected this; you don’t just let your customer walk away as you watch. Safaricom which is so far the largest service provider in Kenya by subscription has had a lot of success from Mpesa (Safaricom’s mobile money transfer service) as many customers prefer to stay on its network rather than loose Mpesa services and apparently Airtel Kenya seems to have realized this factor after it started an aggressive campaign for its Airtel money service.
Airtel Kenya had invested heavily in mobile number portability service before ending up in court with Safaricom’s suit after several occasions of counter accusations for frustrating their subscribers. It was obvious that Airtel stood to gain while Safaricom was on the loosing end after initial portability reports indicated an influx in the number of subscribers migrating to Airtel’s network. As of now, Airtel money is hitting TV screens like no other service from other providers; in fact Airtel Kenya is offering 10 percent airtime on all deposits to Airtel Money below Kshs.30,000. Airtel Kenya is also reported to have hired more than 5,000 Airtel money agents in the country; an effort expected to bring mobile money transfer services close to customers.
Airtel money Service Features/offer in Kenya;
- 10 percent worth of airtime on all deposits subscribers make on their Airtel Money accounts less than Kshs.30,000
- Airtel money customers can use their phones to pay for goods and utility bills such as electricity bills, water bills, Dstv subscriptions and shop in supermarkets.
- Withdraw funds from their Airtel money accounts via pesa point ATM machines.
- Deposit and withdraw funds from their bank accounts using their mobile phones
- Airtel money allows customers to get their bank accounts mini-statements