Airtel Kenya continues to record growth in data, mobile voice and SMS traffic

From Left- Airtel Kenya Marketing Director Levi Nyakundi and Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi during the launch of Smartika Na 5X bonus promo.
From Left- Airtel Kenya Marketing Director Levi Nyakundi and Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi during the launch of Smartika Na 5X bonus promo.

The quarter under review exhibited mixed trends in terms of local mobile voice traffic per operator with Airtel Kenya Limited experiencing an increase in total local mobile voice traffic that stood at 1.85 billion up from 1.83 billion minutes reported during the previous period.

According to the telecommunications company, its market share for the whole financial year also grew significantly to stand at 16.4 per cent up from 10.7 per cent market shares reported in the previous year. A growth which could be attributed to Airtel’s acquisition of Essar’s yuMobile subscriptions late last year.

The companys total number of SMS sent has also maintained an upward trend regardless of the stiff competition from OTTs. During the quarter under review, local SMS traffic stood at 6.57 billion up from 6.55 billion messages reported in the previous quarter. Similarly, the volume of SMS sent throughout the year grew significantly to 27.4 billion up from 24.4 billion messages sent during the previous year. This could be attributed to the lowering of SMS tariff and provision of lucrative SMS bundles by a majority of mobile operators.

Airtel Kenya’s SMS traffic volume gained 1.1 percentage points on market share to stand at 8.0 percent with 527 million SMS during the quarter up from 452million messages registered during the last quarter. The total messages sent throughout the year stood at 1.5 billion up from 731 million messages sent during the previous year.

Airtel’s market share for data grew year on year from 13.5% in the previous year 2013/14 to 19% by the end of the year June 2015. Safaricom’s market share for data dropped from 71.6% in the previous year to 63% by the end of the year.

The growth in mobile voice traffic, SMS traffic and data for the second largest operator in the country may be attributed to its innovative product- Airtel #UnlimiNet that was launched early this year. The product continues to champion #UnlimitedConnections to Kenyans by ensuring that they are always connected by the ability to call all networks and remain connected with friends and family on social media platforms and profession networks on the internet even after they run out of data bundles. Airtel UnlimiNet allows customers to enjoy free minutes voice calls and SMSs to any network, making it the most affordable cross-network voice call offer in Kenya with blended rates as low as Ksh 1.7 per minute.

The growth may also be attributed to the company’s network upgrade exercise undertaken in the months of April, May and June that significantly enhanced Airtel’s network capacity, robustness and help deliver best-in-class experience that include improved voice quality.

Early this month, Airtel launched a 50-day-long national consumer promotion dubbed Smartika na 5X, that will give its customers a chance to win 50 cars in the 50 day period, as well as daily prizes of cash and airtime. The promotion gives an opportunity to its prepaid customers who achieve their targets on “5X bonus” to win one of the fifty cars, airtime worth Ksh. 2,000 or cash prize worth Ksh. 2,000. 5X bonus is a prepaid special offer where customers on the Airtel network have the opportunity to enjoy 500% airtime bonus on meeting a daily target on airtime used.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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