Convergent billing speeds time to market

Fiona Chau
Billing and OSS Supplement

Operator profile, Safaricom, KenyaLike their counterparts in developed markets, mobile operators in Kenya are aggressively promoting data offerings, including mobile money transfer services and mobile internet, as they strive to develop new income streams and cut over-reliance on revenues from airtime sales.

The number of mobile subscribers in Kenya reached nearly 23 million at the end of last year, representing a mobile penetration rate of 63%. The country had the most intensive mobile internet users in Africa, with each user browsing an average of 525 pages monthly.

For Safaricom, the country's dominant carrier with a 80% share of the market, this presents both opportunities and challenges. The company, which is the only firm providing commercial 3G services, has been experiencing strong growth in its data business, which contributed 24% of its revenues in 1H2010, up 56% from a year earlier.

While Safaricom sees data as the next frontier, it's facing fierce competition as Airtel Kenya, formerly known as Zain Kenya, and Telkom Kenya are set to launch 3G services by the first quarter. Meanwhile, a continuous price war trigged by a reduction in interconnection charges across networks since last August also has driven Safaricom to invest significantly on network upgrades. 

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