13 July 2018

Kenya: Faiba 4G Upsets Mobile Data Market for Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom

The battle for mobile data provision among telecoms in Kenya is getting tougher every day as players try to outdo each other to gain customers.

While loyalty may not be guaranteed, getting the numbers for these telcos is all that matters if they have to survive the cutthroat competition for Kenya's tech-savvy and data-hungry citizens.

Jamii Telecoms, popularly known for its famous moniker 'Faiba', launched its mobile network on December 5, 2017.

Becoming the fifth mobile network operator in Kenya after Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom Kenya and Equitel, Faiba Mobile becomes JTL's next frontier after aggressively pursuing broadband connectivity in the corporate, home and retail market segments in Kenya.

Getting its footing in an already crowded race, JTL is making headway in the data market already hogged by telecom giant Safaricom which is growing its mobile data and the home internet market with Safaricom Home.

Already, the established providers have had to reduce their charges for mobile data with Safaricom which controls the biggest market share having to cut their charges per GB from over Sh500 to Sh49 for a daily bundle.

With the competition already rattled by Faiba Mobile, next was Telkom Kenya. After rebranding back from Orange, it has repositioned itself with subsidised data offerings targeting the youths.

Airtel Kenya has been offering mobile data to its consumers at competitive rates which forced Safaricom to review its offerings and adjusting the charges downwards slightly.

However, with the entry of JTL into the mobile telephony market, the market is enjoying the benefits as the companies jostle for space in people's data consumption space.

Mid last year, there were reports in one of the dailies that JTL was looking to venture into the payments segment going as far as registering trademarks for payments and mobile money services. This would be an affront to Equity Bank which has a big customer base but which JTL could be targeting.

The expectation is that there will be an additional mobile money platform in Kenya- Faiba Money, Faiba Mobile and Faiba Pay. JTL is already providing 4G internet using mobile Wi-Fi hotspot (MiFis) and it is aggressively marketing itself by providing free sim cards to prospective users.

Early this year, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) granted JTL the 700MHz frequency allowing the company to operate 4G.

JTL is offering mobile phone services with the prefix 0747 after the company invested Sh5.1 billion in its network infrastructure.

Kenya

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