Safaricom Leads But Kenyans Prefer Airtel For Data and Calls

Airtel Safaricom

It’s been an eventful couple of months with the recent events happening in Kenya and the world in general. At a time when people are confined to their homes, communication is one of the strongest pillars to most relationships. The Communications Authority of Kenya compiled a detailed report detailing what the situation has been like for the first quarter of the year. Surprisingly, according to the report, Safaricom is leading in numbers but people are spending more time on Airtel.

In summary, but for M-Pesa taking over the Mobile Money Market, with a 98.8 market share, Airtel has made headway in other sectors. They have increased their sim subscribers, data subscribers and, as of March 31st, it has the highest average talk time of about 4 minutes due to their cheap prices and packages. Now, let’s get into detail.

The Battle For Supremacy

The Report is by the Sector of Statistics and represents data for the Third Quarter of the 2019/20 Financial Year. It provides an overview of the performance and trends of the ICT sector from 1st January to 31st March 2020. It focuses on the following service categories:

  • Mobile Telephony Services.
  • Fixed Telephony Services.
  • Data/Internet Services.
  • Postal and Courier Services

In this article, we will try and touch on the growth of the service providers in the time period stated.

Mobile Penetration in Kenya

As of 31st March 2020, the number of active mobile subscriptions (SIM Cards) in the country stood at 55.2 million. From that, we get the number of active registered mobile money subscriptions, which is 29.1 million.

Calls and SMS data is trough the roof

The total local outgoing mobile voice traffic increased by 2.3% during the quarter. It is up to 15.3 billion.  On-net traffic stood at 13.5 billion. Similarly, off-net and mobile to fixed traffic increased by 1.4% and 7.6& to post 1.7 billion and 15.8 million minutes respectively.

Even the average talk time was affected. It was recorded at 1.6 and 1.1 minutes respectively. The report notes that this is attributed to the fact that operators offer lower calling rates within their network as compared to across other networks. Here’s where the battle begins…

For example, Airtel subscribers recorded the highest duration of on-net minutes per call at 4.0 minutes. Safaricom PLC, on the other hand, recorded the least Minutes of talk time for both on-net and off-net traffic. 

This comes as no surprise as Airtel keep decreasing their prices while Safaricom keeps increasing and at times doubling theirs. Messaging was also affected during this time. The total number of SMS’s sent during the period under review stood at 16.8 billion, up from 15.6 billion messages sent during the preceding quarter. Airtel also takes the lead in this sector.

Data Battles

In another article, we also focus on the data subscriptions affected. However, here are a few stats for your pleasure. Safaricom PLC got some pretty stiff competition from Airtel again. The telco made times tough for Safaricom when they reviewed their ‘Vuka Pay as You Go tariff ‘ for mobile data. They amended it from Ksh. 4/MB to Ksh. 2.3/MB.

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