Bob Collymore

By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya

Safaricom’s net profit for the six-month period ending September 2012 has gone up 94% to Sh7.8billion despite a destructive price war regime.

The company now intends to enhance its M-PESA network in the next few months to curb outages that have recently impacted its operations.

Releasing the company’s half year results (March - September 2012) on Thursday, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore also said the company would embark on voice network optimization to deal with the ‘unacceptable number of dropped calls’ in Nairobi.

Collymore said that as a business, Safaricom considers broadband to be one of its next frontiers for growth and therefore has invested in the underlying 3G, fibre and Wimax networks and ensured data handsets are affordable.

“We have discontinued unlimited mobile data bundles, and instead have developed new data bundle offerings which meet the needs of the various segments… our focus on building the best network in Kenya led to investment in more 2G and 3G cell sites…in the period under review, total sites have increased to 2,815 of which 1,545 are 3G enabled, giving Safaricom the most extensive coverage in the country, and access to 87 per cent of Kenya’s population,” said Mr. Collymore.

The CEO said the company has netted 1.2 million more customers over the last year and that the company’s data users increase by 30% to stand at 5.6 million and a 9% increase in fixed data customers to 6,718.

“We have actively increased our number of M-PESA agents by 6,000 over the last few months, closing at 45,540 agents nationwide,” said Collymore.

He said M-PESA has shown significant growth with an increase in registered customers to 15.2 million; 9.7million of whom actively use M-PESA at least once every 30 days.

The growth led to a 32% increase in revenue to Ksh10.4bn.

M-PESA now makes up 18% of total revenues for the leading mobile telephony company.

The company’s total revenue in the period under review grew by 19% to Sh59.1billion and voice revenues grew by 19% to Sh37.4 billion.

“Mobile and fixed data revenue increased by 30% to Kshs 4 billion and M-PESA revenue increased by 32% to Ksh 10.4 billion.”

“The results for the Group have yet again demonstrated Safaricom’s strength and depth of services. They are a testament to prudent commercial management and our loyal customer base,” said Collymore.

He said the company embarked on a number of promotions to maintain customer loyalty and grow revenue.

“In July 2012 we reduced our off-net call rate to the same rate as our on-net. Our commitment to offer quality services at an affordable price has paid off as demonstrated by the 19 per cent growth in voice revenues,” he added.

During the period under review the CCK implemented a campaign to curtail the use of counterfeit handsets with the disconnection of these handsets commencing on the October 1, 2012. Safaricom disconnected 640,000 handsets, and according to Collymore: “by the end of the first day, 100% of the active customers were reconnected on an original handset.”

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