Telkom Kenya’s Focus on Data Services Sees Marginal Growth as Voice and SMS Dwindle


It has been more than six months since Telkom Kenya transitioned from Orange Kenya, and in that process, the mobile telecoms company has seen significant gains. The growth has been documented by Kenya’s ICT watchdog the Communications Authority (CA) that released sector statistics for the first quarter of the financial year 2017/2018 a couple of days ago.

Similar to previous results, mobile subscriptions continue to grow every quarter, and in this case, the industry saw additional 768,831 subscriptions from 40.2 million that were recorded in the preceding quarter. While Safaricom, which has also always experienced an upward trend, did record its first loss from 72.6 percent to 71.9 percent in the quarter under review, Telkom Kenya’s market share rose to 8.4% from 7.2%.

This constitutes a record of 3.4 million subscribers, which is a significant jump from 2.8 million subscribers that were registered in the previous quarter.

Admittedly, the telco has been on the forefront in selling its products, with a couple innovative voice, data and SMS packages that are tailored to meet the demands of its dynamic customer base.

However, this growth is characterized by other habits other than voice traffic. This is because Telkom registered decline of 1.5 percent in mobile voice traffic, and while the drop is marginal, it signifies modern trends that are embracing data over voice. The trend is further echoed by a decrease in Telkom’s voice market share to 5.3% from 5.6%.

It appears that SMS experienced a drop as well as the company’s short messaging service waned by 0.1 percent to stand at 0.3 percent.

On the bright side of things, Telkom has leveraged the demand for internet services with a wide array of plans for subscribers and enterprise users. As a recap, total subscriptions increased by 4.3 percent to 30.8 million from 29.6 million recorded in the preceding quarter. This demographic makes up 51.1 million subscriptions, 99 percent of which are made up of mobile data subscriptions. In other words, mobile data subscriptions grew to 30.6 million, marking a 4.1 percent growth. Telkom Kenya posted a market share of 7.3 percent at third place behind Airtel and Safaricom. Its fixed subscriptions recorded 3856 users, which is only 1.5 percent of a market share that is mostly dominated by Wananchi Group, Safaricom and Jamii Telecoms Limited.

The above data is insightful, and can be used to pinpoint key mobile usage patterns for a given operator. In this scenario, it is apparent that the telco, which has made clear of its focus on data services in an interview, is seeing admirable growth on its mandate. For instance, Telkom continues to out data promotions to net in more users, which adds to multiple data products such as Freedom Bundles, to mention a few.

In a fiercely contested data market that includes new players such as Faiba 4G, data prices can only get better.