Airtel Expands 4G Coverage in Kenya 4G Coverage to reach local urban centers

In a new move to settle the score among Kenya’s rivaling telecoms, Airtel has finally expanded coverage outside of the country’s two major cities, Mombasa and Nairobi. This move is most beneficial to the Kenyan smartphone user. Given that both Safaricom and Telkom are offering 4G coverage, it serves as another affordable avenue to browse the web. Airtel is widely known for its friendly data and talk time prices. Extending coverage to local towns now makes it a better experience for using the internet while traveling. For communication and internet entertainment like video streaming, and social media engagement. At the end of the day, the customer wins.

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While Airtel did not specify the towns that will receive the 4G coverage, but it is implicated that it will target popular urban centers. The likes of Nakuru and Naivasha, among others. Recently, Airtel has made new strides in acquiring new customers having gained an additional 2 million subscribers in the past few quarters. Largely due to their offers and pocket-friendly packages, Kenyans have seen the benefits of switching for a better budget.

After a back and forth with the communications authority of Kenya, Airtel has finally paid the steep fee for 4G network coverage; which stands at two and a half billion Kenya shillings. The licensing fee for 4G spectrum was argued to be too high for the telecommunications company. Owing it to its dwindling profit margins which seem to have changed since their last complaint.

A survey conducted by mSurvey showed that Kenyans have taken a more favorable stance towards airtel since dipping its pricing in data, voice and SMS products. Their efforts to acquire a larger customer base was heightened by the recent news of a permanent drop in call rates from Airtel to any network, at KES 2 per minute. As opposed to their main rival, Safaricom’s KES 4 per minute. Ultimately, these efforts were needed and are a result of their growing customer base after a decades-long rivalry with Safaricom as they continued at the second-place position.

Expanding LTE to more towns means that there will be improved speeds customers can rely on, a reliable internet coverage which has never been Airtel’s strong suit (but subject to change). Customer complaints site data speeds and coverage as a major drawback for one of the richest telecoms in the world. This being improved should take the Indian telecom giant a step further to rival its main competitor Safaricom in the wars for customer base market share.

Together with Telkom, the two have been mounting pressure on regulators to declare Safaricom a dominant player. By doing so, their overall business models are subject to change. For example, M-Pesa may receive recognition as an entity on its own accord. Safaricom’s rigidity to revise its pricing and business model bars others from innovating. Moreover, they have the upper hand and are able to continue dictating terms that only work for them as the market leader.

Safaricom has remained the top firm for remittance revenue due to the popular and widely used M-Pesa mobile money platform.

Safaricom made its mark with M-Shwari, the first of its kind to roll out loan services via mobile in Kenya reveals that it has disbursed 230 billion shillings since it started back in 2012. To date, an estimated 12.1 million Kenyans, use mobile apps for loans. Specifically, for small business activities. The huge numbers involved has pushed many companies to initiate such apps to loan service businesses.

In the wake of the new financial year, mobile money transfers received news of the implementation of increased taxes. The excise duty on mobile money transactions will be increased from 10%-12%. The Minister for Treasury Henry Rotich confirmed the increment. Safaricom’s Chief Finance Officer Sateesh Kamath received the news by saying ‘the news laws would reverse the gains made in the recent past through mobile led financial inclusion’.

Source: Techweez Blog

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