Airtel Kenya reported an increase in net loss from its voice and data business despite the continued growth of customers and talk time market share from its rival Safaricom.
Bharti Airtel, the firm’s parent company, revealed that this loss for the financial year leading to March last year rose from KES 2.87 billion recorded a year earlier. The company’s mobile money business posted a separate KES 1.16 billion loss in the review period. This definitely goes on to pile on the woes of the telco.
Airtel Kenya’s combined loss has now been pushed to KES 5.16 billion. Meanwhile, Safaricom recorded a net profit of KES 74.6 billion in the same period.
Interestingly, these losses emerge despite the firm seeing a growth in its number of subscribers. Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) data shows Airtel Kenya’s user market share jumped to 27.2% at the end of December from 14.9% in September 2017.
This could be associated with the telco’s rates that the firm defends describing them as sustainable enough for the market.
“What we provide to our customers is the most affordable rate. Whatever our product, we try to give value to our customers. Customers are loving us more,” said Mr Sarma.
Despite these huge losses, the firm seems to make plans to continue operating in the market. This includes the recent upgrade of up to 600 network sites to meet the 5G mobile internet service capabilities.
Airtel hopes to ride on this upgrade to rev up its data business and offset slow growth in mobile calls, where it’s seeing a small revenue growth due to saturation.