Airtel Kenya lost 600,000 mobile subscribers in the three months to March while new entrant Equitel gained nearly the same number of customers, a quarterly report released on Monday by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows.
The report indicates that Airtel’s subscribers declined by 7.8 per cent to seven million in a period that saw its customers, however, talked longer.
Airtel last year inherited 2.5 million former yuMobile subscribers after a joint buyout deal that saw Safaricom take control of the Indian-owned firm’s frequency spectrum.
Telkom Kenya’s customers increased to 3.7 million up from 3.3 million subscribers reported during the previous quarter.
Equitel, which is Equity Bank’s telecoms unit, reported that it had gained 665,661 mobile subscribers, all on the pre-paid tariff plan.
Safaricom’s total subscribers grew by three per cent to stand at 23.3 million up from 22.6 million customers listed in second quarter.
“The market share for mobile subscriptions registered during the quarter experienced slight changes following entry into the market by Finserve Africa Limited (Equitel) in the previous quarter,” reads the CA quarterly report.
In terms of market share by subscribers, Airtel lost 2.4 percentage points market share dropping to 20.2 per cent from 22.6 per cent reported in the previous quarter.
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Airtel increased its the number of post-paid subscribers by 1.5 per cent to stand at 151,286 up from 149,020 posted in the last quarter.
However, prepaid subscriptions declined to 6.8 million down from 7.4 million reported in the preceding quarter.
Safaricom’s market share declined by 0.3 percentage points to stand at 67.1 per cent during the period under review down from 67.4 per cent reported during the last quarter.
Telkom Kenya (Orange) gained 0.8 percentage points to reach 10.8 per cent market share from last quarter’s performance of 10.0 per cent.
Equitel on the other hand acquired a market share of 1.9 per cent during the quarter.
Mobile voice traffic grew by 10.0 per cent to stand at 8.7 billion up from 7.9 billion minutes recorded during the previous quarter.
“This trend was different from what was reported during the same period of the previous year, during which a 2.7 per cent decline was recorded,” CA said in the report.
On-net mobile voice traffic grew by 7.8 per cent to record 7.5 billion minutes up from 7.0 billion minutes posted during the last quarter.
Safaricom lost its market share by voice traffic by 6.3 percentage points to register 71.7 percent market share down from 78.0 percent share recorded in the last quarter.
However, its total traffic volume increased to 6.28 billion up from 6.22 billion minutes registered during the previous quarter. On-net and off-net traffic stood at 5.9 billion minutes and 327 million minutes respectively during the quarter under review.
Airtel Kenya’s voice traffic rose to 1.8 billion minutes up from 1.2 billion minutes posted during the last quarter, representing a 4.8 percentage points growth to stand at 21.0 per cent up from 16.2 per cent share reported during the previous quarter.
Telkom Kenya gained in total mobile voice traffic to register 617 million minutes during the period up from 458 million minutes registered in the last quarter, growing its market share to 7.1 from 5.7 per cent share reported in the previous quarter.