Airtel adds a million subscribers in three months

Posted on February 2, 2011


Airtel Kenya MD Rene Meza

The decision by Airtel Kenya to lower its tariffs might have paid off for the firm, which has ruffled feathers in the mobile telephones service industry.

According to a Communication Commission of Kenya report for quarter one of the 2010/2011 financial year, the firm added slightly over a million subscribers to its base.

“In terms of absolute net additions Airtel Networks registered the highest number during the quarter under review with 1,143,353 new subscriptions followed by Safaricom with 473,979. Essar Telecom lost 26,266 subscriptions,” reads the report.

The quarter under review recorded 1.9 million new mobile subscriptions representing 9.5 per cent growth. The significant growth the regulator attributes to the availability of bundled package that promotes cheaper handsets preloaded with airtime and SIM cards coupled with the reduction of tariffs.

During the quarter, Airtel Networks and Telkom Orange gained 4.4 and 1.3 percentage points respectively of market share while Safaricom and Essar Telecom dropped by 4.8 and 0.7 percentage points respectively.

As at September 2010, Safaricom still led the market share with 75.1 per cent from 80.7 per cent, followed by Airtel at 13.5 per cent from 9.1 per cent. Essar was third at 6.7 per cent while Orange trailed with only 4 per cent of the market.

The prepaid option continued to dominate the mobile market accounting for 99 per cent of the total mobile subscriptions against 1 per cent of postpaid lines

The report indicates that Kenya had a total of 22 million mobile telephone subscribers.

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