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Data, smartphone use and Fintech anchor Safaricom’s market position

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Africa , 13 May 2022

With a 29% increase in the number of subscribers on its network, as well as in the number of data users who consume over 1GB having spiked to 7.7 million - yielding a 10% rise in ARPU (average revenue per user) for mobile broadband - Safaricom has recorded strong full year results to the end March 2022.

In a presentation of its results this week, Safaricom said data services accounted for 17.2% of its service revenue for the period under review. This was after ARPU for data strengthened by 10.4%, boosted by introduction of new packages in November 2021.

The telco added that 4G-enabled smartphone connectivity on its network increased by 29.3% to 10.9 million, with over half of these subscribers using more than 1GB of data, according to Safaricom CEO Peter Ndengwa.

The total number of smartphones, including those processing 3G and others, was 18.5 million, representing a 10% increase.

As a result of this, mobile data now accounts for 17.2% of Safaricom’s service revenue of US$2.421-billion.

Service revenue for the year to March 2022 improved by 17%, despite a slowdown in customer growth which the company has attributed to the ongoing implementation of changes in subscriber registration.

The company has 42.4 million total subscribers, with 32.8 million of these categorised as “one month active” customers.

Ndengwa added that “velocity in the ecosystem continues to grow driven by our fin-tech solutions including payments, lending and savings and international remittances”.

Safaricom is also readying up its network in Ethiopia after landing the country’s first private operator’s license last year.

Ndengwa said the company is “encouraged by the positive outlook to the security and political situation in Ethiopia” especially as the government - at loggerheads with leadership from the Tigray region - makes strides to restore peace and security.

“The security situation is gradually improving in Ethiopia and economic activities are back to normal in most states. The country has been subject to some unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances since the award of the license to the Safaricom-led consortium.”

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