NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Intense competition in Kenya’s telecom market has
hit the fever pitch with consumers turning out to the biggest
beneficiaries as voice, data and text messages charges decline
to a new low.
Kenya has currently
three mobile service providers with the largest being Safaricom,
which is followed by Airtel and Telkom.
Airtel and Telkom,
which control about 25 percent of the market, started the battle
to shore up their numbers by introducing packages that allow
consumers call, text and access internet at minimal charges, a
report released by Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in
December 2017 showed.
It made giant
Safaricom counter in bid to maintain its market leader position,
in effect bringing down charges across the board.
telecoms in the East African nation are currently shifting to
offering data, voice and SMSs as a bundle, with the consumer
paying only once for the three services.
This is a major
deviation from the past where each was charged separately making
consumers spend more.
therefore, currently paying as little as 0.10 dollars to access
data, calls and SMSs the entire day.
And to sweeten the
deal, some telecoms are offering free calls within the network
and SMSs in the bundle to lure consumers on their side as others
charge 0.02 dollar per minute for calls, down from 0.04 dollars
within network and 0.05 dollars cross network.
Telkom Kenya has a
tariff called Freedom, a data bundle that comes with free
WhatsApp, free calls and free SMS. One needs 0.39 dollars to 29
dollars for daily, weekly or monthly offers to enjoy the
On the other hand,
Airtel has what it calls Tubonge tariff that offers subscribers
free inter-network calls and cross-network calls are charged at
0.02 dollars a minute.
Safaricom, on the
other hand, boasts Flex that it describes as a flexible way to
browse, call and SMS with only a single bundle. One spends
between 0.5 dollars and 25 dollars for the daily, weekly or
relishing the new packages, with the biggest beneficiaries being
those with multiple SIM cards of different firms.
“This is the best
thing to have happened to the telecommunication sector in Kenya.
I never knew I would ever make a call at 0.02 dollar per minute.
It looked a distant dream but thanks to competition, it has
happened,” said Joash Onyango, an accountant in Nairobi.
Onyango noted that
with the packages, he no longer needs to worry about buying data
or SMS bundles and making calls expensively.
Bernard Mwaso, a
consultant with Edell IT Solutions, noted that the telecoms are
coming up with the bundles to maximize on data, which is one of
the biggest sources of revenue, thanks to increased use of smart
consuming millions of gigabytes of data every day, which makes
telecoms to focus on internet market, and for some, free calls
and SMSs become a value addition.
The strategies seem
to be paying off for the telecoms, especially for Telkom, which
has gained considerable number of subscribers, according to the
latest data from the Communication Authority.
Statistics for the
sector in 2017/2018 showed Safaricom market share dropped from
72.6 percent to 71.9 percent.
dropped from 15.3 percent to 14.9 percent while Telkom Kenya’s
market share went up to 8.4 percent from 7.2 percent.