Safaricom has cut rates for its monthly packages of bundled minutes, mobile data and SMS by nearly five per cent as the telco seeks to deepen dominance amid stiff competition from its rival Airtel.
The telco yesterday slashed the cost of the 1,000 minutes that also come with 15 Gigabytes (GB) of mobile data and 2,000 SMS by 4.7 per cent to Sh2,000 — being the highest cut for five of its packages that last for a month.
Airtel, meanwhile, offers customers 700 minutes, mobile data of 7 GB and 2000 SMS every month for Sh1,050.
Telkom Kenya, on the other hand, gives subscribers 12 GB of mobile data and free WhatsApp per month for Sh1,000.
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Safaricom’s tariff reviews come at a time Airtel ate into its dominance of the voice market and grew its share to a record high while cutting that of the market leader to a two-year low.
Safaricom’s new rates for the bundled minutes, mobile data and SMS offer the telco a major boost in its pricing war with Airtel as the duo seeks to grow their customer numbers and revenues.
“By consolidating our monthly plans, we seek to simplify our product offering while enabling our customers to enjoy a digital lifestyle in an affordable manner,” said Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa.
Industry data from the Communications Authority (CA) shows that customers spent sh12.14 billion minutes on Safaricom’s network in the three months that ended September, a 4.36 per cent decline from 12.69 billion minutes in the three months that ended June.
Airtel callers spent 6.36 billion minutes, a 3.8 per cent rise from 6.13 billion minutes in the three months that ended June while callers on Telkom Kenya talked for 370.57 million minutes from 341.4 million in June.
READ: Airtel eats into Safaricom voice market dominance
Safaricom had in July last year increased the cost of the bundled packages following a rise of excise tax on airtime and calls from 15 per cent to 20 per cent.
The cost of the monthly packages that offer customers 400 minutes with 5GB and 1,000 also dropped by 4.7 per cent to Sh1,000.
The price of the package where customers get 1,500 minutes, 25 GB and 3,000 SMS also fell 4.7 per cent to Sh3,000.
Safaricom’s bundled packages also offer customers free WhatsApp and YouTube for a month as the telco steps up efforts to woo more subscribers.
Safaricom is betting on the reduced rates to regain its share of the voice market as the telco seeks to pull further away from Airtel.
The telcos have been caught up in pricing wars for years, a battle that has seen customers benefit in the form of reduced charges for bundled packages and getting free minutes once they hit a target of specified credit per day.
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