Only Airtel Kenya Gained Market Share in Mobile Subscriptions in Q2 2019/2020

Airtel Africa
Courtesy Bloomberg

Airtel Africa

The latest sector statistics numbers from the Communications Authority of Kenya are here. The Authority, which is tasked with the policing of the ICT sector in the country releases these numbers on a quarterly basis, and they go a long way in shaping ICT policies for the state in the coming days.

One of the key metrics used to gauge the development of the space is mobile subscriptions, which are rounded up from Safaricom, Telkom Kenya, Equitel and Airtel Kenya.

According to the Authority, as of December 31, 2019, there were 54.5 million active mobile subscriptions/SIM cards in Kenya, translating to a 114.8 percent in mobile/SIM penetration. This is a record high for Kenya, after achieving the 100% mark a year or so ago.

The jump is of course attributed to the ownership of multiple SIM cards because Kenyans love bargains: they use their Safaricom lines mostly because they are locked in Safaricom products and services. The creative ones use other SIM cards for data and voice calls. Others use the likes of Equitel just for banking reasons. The list goes on and on.

That aside, the quarter registered 1.3 million new SIM cards. Q1 2019/2020 recorded 1 million new SIM cards.

Now, Safaricom mobile subscriptions dropped by 0.1 percent in Q2 and currently commands 64.8% in market share. Telkom Kenya and Equitel lost market share by 0.5% to 6.2 and 3.1 percent, respectively.

Only Airtel Kenya recorded a 1.3% gain. Its market share is at 25.9%.

All carriers have been aggressive in the manner they market their products and services. All have since slashed the price for data and voice units, with Safaricom even introducing bundles without an expiry date. Telkom and Airtel have always had competitive products, and have not showed signs of a slow down with constant revisions for their product portfolios.

The table below summarizes the numbers for the quarter.

Mobile subscriptions Q2 2019-2020
Source: CA Kenya