Safaricom firms grip on data market with 36,604 new users

Safaricom Ndegwa

Safaricom PLC CEO Peter Ndegwa during a past function at the Michael Joseph Centre on the unveiling Safaricom's new brand campaign dubbed “Tuinuane” encouraging Kenyans to uplift one another. 

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

Safaricom added 36,604 new fixed data subscribers in the three months to September, consolidating its market share amid aggressive marketing campaigns and price offers.

Data by the Communications Authority(CA) showed that Safaricom’s market share rose to 35.6percent between July and September, from 34.3percent in the three months to June—marking a growth of 1.3percentage points.

Safaricom’s fixed data users grew to 350,724 in the three months to September, translating to an 11.6 percent rise from the April-June window when the telco had 314,120 subscribers.

The CA data however shows that Safaricom’s closest rival Wananchi Group ceded market share in the three months to September to settle at 25.5 percent, down from 27.9 percent in the preceding quarter to June.

Wananchi’s Zuku had 251,133 subscribers in the quarter to September, down from the 255,906 users that it had registered in the previous three months that ended in June.

Jamii Telecommunications Limited (JTL) ate into the share of Zuku to register a 22.1 percent market share in the first quarter of the current financial year, compared to 21.9 percent between April and June.

JTL, which sells its fixed internet through the Faiba brand, raised its users to 218,036 in the quarter to September, up from 200,079 as at June.

Poa Internet Kenya also had a good run in the quarter to September adding 11,872 users and raising its market share to 10.8 percent. Poa had 94,699 subscribers as at June, translating to a 10.3 percent market share.

Fixed internet subscriptions in Kenya have been on a climb since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, driven by a rise in people working from home during the pandemic.

Many homes were also forced to subsribe to internet services due to online schooling when learners were kept home by the disease.

Some also sought connections to access entertainment online during the restriction period, entrenching the trend that has seen streaming services gain prominence due to ease of access on multiple devices and delivering content on demand.

Safaricom first took the top spot in the quarter ending September 2019 from Zuku, but the latter reclaimed dominance in the subsequent quarter ending December 2019.

The giant telco, however, moved ahead once again by mid-2021, riding on an aggressive marketing drive and pricing offers after Covid. It provided its users with double bandwidth, as a way of supporting the government’s call on Kenyans to work from home.

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