Airtel gains in market share for data, voice and SMS

NAIROBI, KENYA: Data from the telecommunications industry regulator Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) for the second quarter of the year shows the sector experienced mixed trends in local mobile voice traffic per operator.   

The local mobile voice traffic for Airtel Kenya Limited increased by a substantial margin during the quarter under review and posted a total of 1.8 billion minutes up from 1.2 billion minutes posted in the last quarter. This traffic was mainly contributed by growth in on-net traffic that recorded remarkable growth to stand at 1.1 billion minutes up from 821 million minutes. 

Similarly, off-net traffic grew to 647 million during the quarter up from 474 million minutes posted during the last quarter.

“Consequently, the operator’s market share grew by 4.8 percentage points to stand at 21.0 per cent up from 16.2 percent share reported during the previous quarter,” stated the report in part.

SMS traffic growth  

Airtel’s SMS traffic volume gained 2.5 percentage points on market share to stand at 6.9 per cent share with 452 million SMS during the quarter up from 324 million messages registered during the last quarter.

The report indicates Airtel is the only operator that has shown consistent growth in SMS traffic over the last four quarters under review.  In quarter one, Airtel had 2.7 per cent market share and in quarter two the company had 4.4 per cent market share of SMS traffic.      

Data and internet

The data market continued to expand over the period with increased growth in subscriptions witnessed during the quarter under review. The number of subscriptions increased by 14.3 per cent to stand at 18.8 million up from 16.3 million posted during the last quarter. In relation to the same period of the previous year, growth of 1.3 percent was recorded.

Mobile data continued to dominate the data market with the number of subscriptions registered at 18.6 million up from 16.3 million subscriptions during the last quarter. This represented 14.3 percent growth and 1.3 percent increase compared to the same period of the previous year.

Airtel had 18.5 per cent share up from 14.6 percent share representing an increase of 3.9 percentage increase during the quarter. The number of subscriptions, too, expanded to reach 3.4 million up from 2.3 million posted during the previous quarter.

Compared to the previous quarter, Airtel grew its data subscription by 11 per cent and has consistently grown since September 2014.

Airtel has attributed the growth to its innovative UnlimiNET product that champions unlimited connections among Kenyans by ensuring that they are always connected by giving them the ability to call all networks and remain connected with friends and family on social media platforms and profession networks on the internet even after they run out of data bundles.  

“The growth may also be attributed to Airtel’s 3G network upgrade exercise in major towns such as Mombasa and Kitale in the month of January in which it deployed the latest wireless technologies that significantly enhanced network signals, data speeds and improved voice quality for its customers,” stated the company in a press statement sent to newsrooms.        

This market share growth in data, voice and SMS traffic is expected to even grow further in the coming quarters as the company reaffirms its commitment in Kenya with the announcement of an ambitious investment programme totaling Sh19 billion over the next three years.

The investment, according to the company, will ensure that it delivers on its stated commitment to offer the most reliable and best quality network, products and services in the market.    

The acquisition of yuMobile subscribers by Airtel Kenya has also contributed to this growth in data, Voice and SMS traffic.

For the yuMobile customers, joining the Airtel network has brought a whole new-world of quality experience to them including a much wider and reliable network, better voice call quality, an opportunity to connect faster to the internet including a totally new online experience on Airtel’s 3G network.