Of Orange Kenya And Marketing Aimed Solely at Safaricom Subscribers


It’s tough out here, particularly when you are competing with a company that came while you were the sole service provider and watched them take your throne and leave you out in the cold. We know this scenario all too well. Now Orange is currently the smallest of the four mobile carriers in Kenya by market-share, having watched all the others enter a market they were already in and go on ahead of them.

Airtel is second both in terms of market-share and revenues in a market where Safaricom leads both ways. yuMobile is third in terms of market-share but the revenue share is a very tricky topic at Essar house. But this isn’t about them, it’s about Orange who have been reduced to trying to convince subscribers that they are the better option with good rates, but their marketing of late has been targeting Safaricom, you know, they are the guys with over 67% market-share and if there is any subscriber base there is to gain it has to come from active subscribers somewhere. Safaricom looks like that huge cow where the beef can come from. The rest of the 30 million subscribers is split at 16.5% for Airtel, 8.5% for yuMobile and 7.1% for Orange Kenya.

Orange SMSI have used Orange for sometime now, mainly for the Internet on mobile which is for the most time steady, at least for me in Nairobi. I also use their voice, but we all know what makes people stay on at Safaricom, even with better rates and service quality at Orange. Mpesa and the things it can do that other mobile money services can’t. Mobile money is huge in Kenya where the unbanked make the majority, and the reach that the Mpesa agency network offers is the cream of the pie.

Orange knows it takes quite much to get the agency network set up with their low numbers of subscribers, thus their marketing has been targeted to making sure that, since they know it’s hard to yank subscribers off with nothing solid to offer in the stead where it matters, go for the second wife model.

They want you to stay at Safaricom, but use their services on a second SIM card. Their marketing has been quite clear on this over time. That includes messaging like “Get 500 SMS to Safaricom plus free on-net SMS in a bundle”. Mostly you’d expect a mobile carrier to push for their subscribers to engage other subscribers on their network more but Orange knows better.

They sell Dual SIM cards, use messages like “it’s cheaper to call the other network while on ours than it is to call that network while on there”. This essentially tells you that they want you to look at theirs as the “safer pair of hands” that won’t mistreat you and extort you of your hard earned salary. But you can stay with your old wife and get mistreated till you get to see that we have been here pampering you all along, even though we are just the housewife. Let’s see how this goes.