BY UPESI NEWS BUSINESS,NAIROBI,20TH JAN 2017-Safaricom added 669,594 subscribers in the three months ended last September, maintaining its market leader position with a total of 25.94 million users even as the total number of active mobile phone users dropped by 1.2 million.
The drop in total mobile phone subscriber base from 39.7 million reported in June to 38.5 million as at end of September 2016 was occasioned by Telkom Kenya’s revision of its customer count to include active users only.
This was a decline of 3.02 per cent, according to statistics from the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA).
The revision saw Telkom Kenya’s subscribers drop by nearly half to 2.9 million customers as at September from 5.2 million users in June, data released by the CA showed.
“The decline (in total mobile phone users) is attributed to the alignment of the reporting by Telkom Kenya to the regulatory requirement that defines active subscribers as those who have used a revenue-generating service within the preceding 90-day period,” said the CA director-general Francis Wangusi.
Equity Bank’s Equitel was the biggest gainer in the three months to September, growing 13.3 per cent or signing up 268,594 new customers to grow its base to 2.28 million subscribers.
Troubled Airtel added 178,840 new subscribers to close at 6.76 million users.
The number of Internet subscriptions declined by 1.2 million to 25.6 million from 26.8 million in the period under review, the first drop in many years, the industry regulator said in the update.
“Unlike the previous quarters where the data market had maintained an upward trend, the quarter under review experienced a decline in the number of subscriptions. This is attributed to the revision of Internet subscriptions data by Telkom Kenya.”
Consequently, Kenya’s mobile penetration dropped to 87.3 per cent in September linked to the 1.2 million mobile subscribers who were counted out of the network. This ratio of the population having phones was 90.0 per cent in June and 89.2 per cent in March last year.
The new reporting rules to only account for active customers means that Safaricom’s 25.94 million subscribers in the period under review now account for seven out of every 10 mobile subscribers in Kenya.
Sema Mobile, a mobile virtual network operator owned by Mobile Decisioning, had its customer base shrink to 266 users from 275 subscribers in June.
Meanwhile, Telkom Kenya on Thursday announced it had hired Clare Ruto as chief legal and regulatory affairs officer.
Ms Ruto previously served as chief corporate affairs officer at Safaricom, and was regional regulatory affairs director for Celtel (now Airtel). Prior to her appointment, she was the general manager for regulatory affairs, East Africa at Multichoice Africa.
The Helios-backed telco also appointed Nicholas Mruttu to serve as chief sales officer in charge of the mobile division. He was the country manager for Kenya for Coca-Cola.