The Kenyan market saw some major developments in the second half of 2008: in Q3, fixed operator Telkom Kenya launched a mobile network, and in the last quarter of the year, Econet Wireless finally managed to get up and running, more than five years after it was first awarded a licence. At the end of 2008, there were 15.90m mobile customers in Kenya. Annual net additions stood at 4.55m, up from 4.08m a year earlier, but proportionate growth fell from 56.0% to 40.1%. Fourth-quarter net additions increased from 0.65m in Q4 07 to 1.37 in Q4 08.
Safaricom dominates the Kenyan market, although the launch of Telkom (Orange) and Econet appears to have dented its market share. At the end of 2008 it had 12.39m customers, more than 9m ahead of nearest rival Celtel. However, having lost 2.7pp market share in Q3 08, it dipped a further 4.4pp in Q4 08 to finish the year on 77.9%. By contrast, Celtel does not appear to have suffered at all from the launch of the new networks, adding 4.4pp of market share in the second half of 2008 to finish on 19.4%. It topped the market for net additions in Q4 08 with a gain of 0.52m (compared to 0.43m for Safaricom) and finished the year on 3.08m.
Kenya: Quarterly Net Additions, Q1 08 – Q4 08
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The annual figures showed that Celtel grew faster than Safaricom in 2008, recording a gain of 46.3% compared to its larger rival’s 34.1%. However, in real terms Safaricom was well ahead, adding 3.15m in 2008 compared to Celtel’s 0.98m.
Newly launched Telkom performed well in its first full quarter of operation, adding 0.34m customers to finish the year with 0.36m. This gave it market share of 2.3%. Econet, which launched in mid-November, ended 2008 with an estimated 70k customers, although press reports indicate that its customer base had grown to more than 0.2m by the end of February. There are also reports circulating about a possible sale of Econet. A Kenyan newspaper suggested that MTN had made an offer to Econet’s main shareholder Essar, but that it was rejected. However, Econet has denied that any such offer was made and has stated that it is not for sale.
Source: Cellular News.