Airtel, Essar, Telkom Kenya grow market share

By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya

Stiff competition in Kenya’s mobile telephony market has seen leading telco Safaricom, lose part of its market share to rivals.

The latest industry data from the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) in the quarter ended September 2012 shows Safaricom as the only operator to shed market share.

However the CCK data shows that Airtel subscribers made 56 per cent of their calls to rival networks, leaving it with a heavy Mobile Termination Rate (MTR) bill. 

MTR is the rate operators charge rivals for handling their calls.

“Safaricom continues to have the largest market share by voice traffic since a large percentage of off-net traffic terminates on its network,” the CCK report reads in part.

“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,” adds the report.

In the period under review Safaricom’s share in the number of minutes spent on voice calls dropped to 76.7 per cent down from 88.27 per cent in a similar period in 2011.

In the period under review, Essar was the highest gainer as its stake grew to 9.6 per cent from 4.58 per cent.

Telkom Kenya’s stake grew to 1.1 per cent from 0.6 per cent and Airtel’s stake increased to 12.5 per cent from 6.55 per cent a year earlier.

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