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Safaricom beats Zuku internet for first time

Sunday December 29 2019
Zuku pic

The Zuku logo: Regulator data shows Safaricom now controls 34 per cent of the market, knocking Zuku from its perch as market leader. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOHN MUTUA

Safaricom has overtaken Wananchi Group-owned Zuku in fixed internet connections and now controls 34 per cent of the market, latest data shows.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in its report for the first three months to September shows that the giant telco had 154,603 fixed home and office connections, edging out Zuku, which has 151,548.

Safaricom increased its market share by 1.3 percentage points from 32.7 per cent at the end of June while Zuku shed by 1.5 percentage points from 34.8 per cent in the same period.

This is the first time that Safaricom has replaced Zuku as the leader in fixed internet connections since it started offering the services in 2017 with the giant telco eyeing increased investment to cement its position as the fixed internet market leader.

“We expect similar levels of capex [capital expenditure] investment in FY 2020 in the range of Sh36-39billion. This will go into strengthening our mobile network and supporting our growth in fixed line as we look to further grow our fibre-to-the-home and fibre-to-the Business revenue streams,” Safaricom said in its 2019 annual report.

Extended footprint

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In the three months to September, Safaricom added 16,779 connections or nearly five times more than Zuku that grew by 5,199 connections, reflecting Safaricom’s onslaught on Zuku.

The rise comes in a year when Safaricom extended its footprint to 6,700 kilometres from 5,000 last year.

Its dominance comes amid reports by Bloomberg two years ago that Wananchi Group was looking to exit the Kenyan market and had contracted US consultant Lizard Limited to work on the modalities of a potential sale.

Overall, the total number of customers on fixed Internet connections rose eight per cent to 454, 840 in three months to September on increased investments by the telcos to link more homes and offices.

The data further shows Jamii Telecommunications-the third biggest provider of fixed internet connections, had 66,572 connections, reflecting a rise of eight per cent from 61,508 at end of June.

Safaricom has been increasing its fibre to the Home (FTTH) and fibre to the business (FTTB) connection in efforts to increase revenues in addition to the popular M-Pesa platform, calls and text services.

Its latest success in fixed internet connections adds to its M-Pesa service that has for years remained the number one mobile money platform with 31.28 million active customers at end of September.

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