Airtel and Telkom make marginal gains in mobile data business against Safaricom

Airtel and Telkom Kenya mobile data business in the quarter ending to September made some marginal gains against Safaricom according to data released by the Communications Authority of Kenya. This happened when data consumption was at its peak following the effects caused by the pandemic that forced many employers to opt for staff working from home. Demand for data has generally been high after the pandemic happened and most of these service providers revised their offerings to tap on the demand which somehow led to Airtel and Telkom Kenya gaining the overall market share.

Despite Safaricom holding onto the leadership crown in mobile data business, statistics released by the industry regulator shows it shaded at least 1.2 percent in favor of Airtel and Telkom. While Safaricom was still a head with 67.5 percent of subscribers, Airtel gained by 26.8 percent and Telkom grew by 5.4 percent.

According to the Communications Authority report, Safaricom was down by 1.2 percent in the market share for mobile data subscriptions at 67.5 percent while Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya gained by 0.8 and 0.4 percent to record 26.8 and 5.4 percent respectively. Equity bank’s Equitel lost about 0.1 percent to record a market share of 0.3 percent.

It should be noted, Telkom and Airtel failed to merge last year, a move that was aimed at taking on the industry leader – Safaricom who enjoys a massive following in mobile money business via MPESA. The two firms complained on stringent conditions placed to get regulatory approvals that finally led the firms to shelve plans on amalgamation.  

Safaricom has continued to promote its data business as an alternative to dwindling revenues in voice segment as well as diversifying its product offering on the MPESA platform. The firm has plans to introduce additional products on MPESA including unit trust, insurance and savings. There are also plans by the financial regulator – Central Bank of Kenya to force Safaricom to allow it’s vast MPESA agent network to operate competing mobile money products as well.  


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