Safaricom firms market grip with 900,000 new subscribers 

Safaricom head office

Safaricom head office in Nairobi on March 20, 2022.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group  

Safaricom has strengthened its grip on the mobile networks market, growing its subscribers by close to a million, even as its struggling rivals lost ground by an almost equal number, between October and December 2021.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) October- December Sector Statistics Report shows that the total number of mobile subscriptions increased marginally by 0.29 percent, from 64.89 million by September to 65.08 million by December.

The overall 188,704 new subscriptions growth, however, did not mean that all the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) gained new subscribers during the three months, with only two operators recording positive movements.

While the number of Safaricom’s mobile subscriptions increased by 933,389 from 41.9 million to hit 42.8 million- a 2.23 percent growth compared to the previous quarter, its competitors lost over 760,000 subscribers during the same period, underlining the difficulties they will continue facing in their bid to expand in the market.

“The period October to December 2021 was marked by increased activity across mobile network platforms due to the festivities. As at 31st December 2021, the number of active mobile (SIM) subscriptions was 65.08 million compared to the 64.89 million subscriptions recorded by end of September representing a marginal increase of 0.3 percent,” CA stated.

The report observed that mobile subscriptions at Airtel Networks dipped by 684,112 during the three months, a 4 percent reduction from the 17.1 million subscribers by September 2021.

At the government-owned Telkom, mobile subscriptions dropped by 0.42 per cent (17,661), from 4.16 million by September to 4.14 million by December.

Closing the league of losers, Equity Bank’s Equitel shed the highest number of subscribers in percentage terms and second highest in real numbers, after losing 64,965 subscribers (4.43 percent of its subscribers by September 2021), to see its mobile subscriptions at 1,401,121 by end of 2021.

“The continued slow uptake of mobile subscriptions as observed in the previous quarter resulted from the decommissioning of the USSD customer acquisition channel and absolute adoption of the App channel for SIM registration,” CA stated.

Together, Airtel, Telkom, and Equitel lost 766,738 subscribers.

Jamii Telecommuni cations Limited was the only other operator that recorded growth in its mobile subscriptions from 214,229 to 236,332 during the period, a 10.32 percent growth.


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