Equitel Controls 1.9% Mobile Market Share as Safaricom & Airtel Register Declines


The Communication Authority of Kenya released the quarterly statistics report  for the period between January and March 2015, on the mobile telephony sector. The report details among other things mobile money statistics, internet penetration as well as data on market share of all the telcos.  Mobile subscribers in Kenya edged 3.6% higher to stand at 34.8 million subscribers from 33.6 million in the orevious quarter which stands at 85.5% penetration. At the same time,  mobile money subscribers grew by 3% to 26.7 million from 26 million. Mobile money agents also rose to 126,622 from 121,924. This of represents an upward trajectory. According to Juniper, Kenya continues to lead the world in mobile money usage, with revenues projected at 2 billion dollars in 2015 and set to hit 4 billion dollars annually by 2018. Safaricom’s M-pesa is still the leading mobile money service in the world having recorded revenues of $330m in the latest financial year.

According to the data, Equitel has been able to acquire  1.9% by registering 665,661 mobile subscribers. In an update issued during the official launch, Equity bank said they had been able to acquire 1 Million customers with 65% active, representing the 650,000 subscribers figured issued by CA. During the period, Equitel had an on-net traffic of 2.3 million minutes.  Last month, Equity officially launched its Mobile virtual network. MNVOs basically mean a mobile carrier can come in and lease infrastructure and go straight into business. New mobile carriers utilize excess capacity on the 3G and 2G sites of mobile carriers. In Kenya’s case Airtel is the bus providing capacity to the MVNOs who include Equity Bank’s Equitel. Airtel has for quite sometime had up-to 40% of their capacity unutilized and this makes a good case for them to wholesale Base Transmitter Station (BTS) capacity.

Safaricom was the leading mobile network operator with 67.1% followed by Airtel Kenya with 20.2%. Telkom Kenya has 10.8% with Equitel at 1.9%. Over the same period, internet subscriptions grew to 18.8 million from 16.3 million which represented a 14% growth. This saw the number of internet subscribers rise to 26.1 million meaning 71% of the population accessed the internet in that quarter.