Communication giant still dorminant despite shake up

Kenya’s leading telecommunication company Safaricom Limited netted in 669,594 new subscribers in the three months ended last September.

The drop in total mobile phone subscriber base from 39.7 million reported in June to 38.5 million as at end of September 2016 was punctuated by Telkom Kenya’s revision of its customer count to include active users only. This has hit hard the giant telecom.

Data held at the communications business regulator Communication Authority of Kenya shows a 3.2 per cent decline in the number of subscribers by the telecom, attributed to a revision of the customer count to only include the active as done by the competitor, Telkom Kenya.

The tough revision decision saw the reduction of Telkom Kenya’s subscribers by nearly half to 2.9 million as at September from 5.2 million users in June.

Equity Bank’s Equitel has been reported to be the biggest gainer in the three months to September, growing 13.3 per cent. The market entrant signed up 268,594 new customers, ballooning its base to now 2.28 million subscribers.

Speaking during an update meeting in Nairobi, Communications Authority of Kenya Managing Director Mr. Francis Wangusi said that the troubled Airtel Kenya added 178,840 new subscribers to close at 6.76 million users.

The number of Internet subscriptions declined by 1.2 million to 25.6 million from 26.8 million in the period under review, the first drop in many years, the industry regulator said in the update.

Interestingly, Kenya’s mobile penetration dropped to 87.3 per cent in September linked to the 1.2 million mobile subscribers who were counted out of the network. This ratio of the population having phones was 90.0 per cent in June and now it stood at 89.2 per cent in March last year.

The new reporting rules to only account for active customers means that Safaricom’s 25.94 million subscribers in the period under review now account for seven out of every 10 mobile subscribers in Kenya.

Sema Mobile, a mobile virtual network operator run by Mobile Decisioning, had its customer base reduce to 266 users from 275 subscribers in June.

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