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Safaricom says tariffs most competitive in East Africa

James Momanyi @jamomanyi

Telecommunication company, Safaricom has maintained that the pricing of its voice and data products is competitive locally and in the region.

Safaricom director of corporate affairs Steve Chege, yesterday said that while their customers have raised concern about cost of voice and data services, especially in the wake of the recently introduced value added tax, the company has invested billions of shillings in expanding and maintaining its expansive network coverage relative to its competitors.

“Our prices are competitive and are based on our coverage and the kind of services we offer to our customers. Every business has to be sustainable. We have the largest network in the country and we have invested a lot in expansion and maintenance. The cost of our products in Kenya and even in the East African region is still amongst the lowest,” said Chege.

Chege, who spoke when the company launched the 2018 Sustainable Business Report, also said that the company will continue investing in the fibre optic internet access to homes and small and medium sized businesses although the uptake is slow.

Safaricom, which launched the service last year, is ranked second in the market. The telco has laid more than 5,000-kilometres of fibre and has connected about 141,000 homes by March this year.

“This is the second year and we will keep investing in this area by rolling more fibre cables to new areas although there are a few challenges. We will leverage on our efficient and affordable services to improve subscriptions,” he said.

According to the 2018 Sustainable Business Report, the company contributed Sh543 billion to the Kenyan economy in the financial year ending March 2018, which is a 12 per cent increase from similar period last year.

This is an equivalent of 6.5 per cent contribution of the country’s gross domestic product. These earnings are around 9.8 times more than what the telcos company earned in profits in the same period. The company earned a massive Sh55.3 billion profit in the year to March 2018.

During this period, the company sustained more than 171,369 jobs direct jobs and more than 897,372 indirect jobs when the wider effects of telcos services are considered. This is an improvement compared to last year when the company sustained more than 682,000 jobs and contributed Sh486 billion to the economy.

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