Safaricom scramble for consumer base

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 Ever-changing subscriber preferences causing telcos sleepless nights

As mobile penetration continues to grow, mobile service providers are changing tact in a bid to win and maintain their user subscriber base. The providers are now adopting transparent and affordable means to lure customers. Kenya’s largest network provider, Safaricom, recently, followed the trend of Ghana’s telcos by providing customized data, messages and voice services as it seeks to retain its millions of subscribers.

The giant telco announced as it celebrated its 19th birthday in October that it will now offer unlimited data bundles and messages to its consumers. This followed a persistent public outcry. Previously, voice, data and message bundles offered by the operator expired after some time even if they were unused. The move followed a similar decision made by the Ghanaian Ministry of Communications that directed mobile providers to allow for non-expiring data or voice bundles. 

 “We are starting afresh and going forward we aim to be even more simple, transparent and honest in everything that we do,” said Micheal Joseph Safaricom’s interim CEO. He added that the announcement was part of its strategies to steer their services towards a customer-centric model. 

The new data offer enables subscribers to exercise control over their internet usage by budgeting for mobile network expenditure. 

A 2019 report released by global consulting firm, Deloitte, reports that’s communication service providers will be forced to shift tact to enjoy massive penetration in an increasingly competitive market. 

“When it comes to customer retention, value for money for access to data and the internet trumps everything, and as consumers become more data-hungry, operators are likely to face pressures to reduce the price of data to remain price competitive,” the report said.

The report further said that mobile subscribers demand laid down the account of their expenditure, a move that has enhanced transparency within the telecommunications providers. The report classifies the mobile money transfer system by Safaricom’s M-Pesa and Kenya Power prepaid token services as meeting the specifications of what customers require.

“M-Pesa, for example, shows you the cost of every M-Pesa transaction before and after you send money. Beyond telecom, Kenya Power has also improved its billing transparency and now sends prepaid users a message of their token number together with their bill break down, displaying the tax, fuel index and inflation,” it says.

The report predicts major trends that will be adapted by successful telecommunications in Kenya. To dominate other competitors, consumers demand consistent speed coverage and reliability, still offering attractive rates to their consumers. Currently, the 5G network allow a subscriber to download a High Definition movie in between 5 to 10 seconds, compared with 10 minutes for 4G


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