Telecommunications firm Safaricom #ticker:SCOM lost 1.6 percent of its subscribers’ market share in the quarter ended June as rival Airtel added more users to its network, fresh data from the industry regulator shows.
This marked the third straight quarterly drop for the country’s biggest operator, which had 29.7 million subscribers during the period, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).
While Safaricom subscribers rose 0.7 percent from the previous quarter's 29.5 million, its rivals led by Airtel added more users, resulting in the company’s reduced market share.
Airtel’s subscribers rose 11.9 per cent from 8.7 million to 9.7 million to secure a market share of 21.4 percent. Safaricom subscribers’ market share has plunged to 65.4 percent from 72.6 percent in June last year.
“During the quarter under review, Safaricom PLC lost its market share by 1.6 percentage points, Airtel Ltd and Telkom Kenya gained by 1.7 and 0.2 percentage points respectively. Finserve Africa lost by 0.1 percentage points whereas the market shares for Sema Mobile and Mobile Pay Ltd remained unchanged,” said the report.
As at June 30, the total number of mobile service subscriptions in the country stood at 45.5 million up from 44.1 million reported in March 2018.
CA’s report comes against the backdrop of an ongoing row between the sector watchdog and Safaricom over claims that the telco is abusing its dominance in a 2015 report before changing its tune.
In January, for instance, the CA revised its position on a controversial proposal for the splitting of Safaricom into separate business units.
A draft report from consultancy firm Analysys Mason leaked to the media last year had recommended designation of Safaricom as a dominant operator, which would have seen its voice and mobile money units split into stand-alone businesses.
Another regulator, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), however warned against punishing Safaricom saying it was unnecessary and would have ripple effects on the entire economy.