While the telco business in Kenya is very competitive between the second and third largest operators (Airtel and Telkom Kenya), Safaricom has mostly maintained its undisputed turf. Today, the mobile carrier revealed that it has grown its active subscriber base to 30 million, a notable feat for a company that was started barely two decades ago.
Dennis Karere, an 18-year old from Kiringaya County successfully registered his first SIM card, and happened to be Safaricom’s 30th millionth customer. To celebrate this development, Safaricom has committed KES 300,000 for his tertiary training as a mechanic at a college of his choosing. The carrier also gifted him a smartphone, which will be replenished with KES 10,000 of monthly airtime for the next couple of months.
Speaking during the Karere’s ceremony at Safaricom HQ, Chief Customer Officer Sylvia Mulinge lauded the telco’s expansive LTE coverage that has appealed to a lot of customers who prefer the telco’s services in place of the competition. The CCO cited 4G as one of Safaricom’s key products, alongside M-PESA and newly launched Fuliza overdraft facility that has, for a short time, made a significant impact for the telco’s earnings. Asked about the financial specifics regarding Fuliza, Ms. Mulinge revealed that the numbers will be communicated during Safaricom’s May Financial announcements.
Recently, the carrier partnered with China’s Ali Express, an e-commerce site to allow Kenyan customers to pay for products via M-PESA. The deal, which also includes an option or locals to see product prices in KES, has attracted more customers to the site, and more information will reportedly be revealed at a later date.
That said, the Airtel-Telkom deal that will see the two telcos operate as a single entity is still under scrutiny and awaits regulatory approval. We are not sure what the merger has in place considering in terms of strategy to counter Safaricom’s growing numbers, but more information will be available as soon as it goes live.