Safaricom’s losses bit of voice traffic market share to rivals

Safaricom was the only mobile network operator in Kenya to have lost some of its market share in the calling category the three months to September last year.

A telecommunications sector statistics released yesterday by Communications Commission of Kenya’s (CCK) shows that Safaricom’s market share in the number of minutes on voice calls dropped to 76.7 percent from 88.27 percent.

The remaining operators increased their market share, with Airtel increasing to 12.5 percent from 6.55 as compared to the same period the previous year. Yu mobile increased to 9.6 percent from 4.58 percent, while Telkom Orange grew to 1.1 percent from 0.6 percent.

The drop in Safaricom’s voice calls market share is on the account that Airtel and Yu Mobile reviewed their call rates late last year, “which however does not imply that its subscribers are calling less” as it saw over 5.3 billion minutes billed in voice calls.

Safaricom still leads in the number of off-net calls terminating to its network from its rivals. The statistics shows that Airtel subscribers made 56 percent of their calls to rival networks, with Safaricom taking the large proportion of these calls.

“Safaricom continues to have the largest market share by voice traffic since a large percentage of off-net traffic terminates on its network,” CCK explained. “There is still a wide disparity in traffic volumes particularly on-net traffic among the operators. Safaricom Ltd contributes the bulk of the on-net traffic owing to its dominant market share by subscription of 63.2 per cent.”

Some experts observe that for this reason, Safaricom did not feel the bite, as it continues to receive more money from the mobile termination rate (MTR) bill — from calls coming through to its network.

This helps Safaricom to maintain profitability, which saw its shares gain 76 percent in value making it the highest trading price in three years.

Posted in: Telecoms

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