To Reach Millennial Customers, This Kenyan Telecom Giant Tried Shopping Like Them

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

For the last 16 years Safaricom, Kenya’s largest publicly traded company and East Africa’s largest telecom, has focused on signing up more mobile subscribers. With 87% of Kenya’s population already subscribed to mobile phone plans, Safaricom, partly owned by Britain’s Vodafone—along with its newer rivals such as India’s Bharti Airtel or Orange Kenya, partly owned by France’s Orange SA—are now chasing a smaller slice of the pie.

So far, Safaricom is grabbing the most of that slice, with about 25 million subscribers and a market share of almost 70%. Its mobile-money platform, M-pesa, is the world’s largest, with more than $50 billion in transactions a year; it’s used by more than half of Kenyan adults.

But Safaricom, one of the earliest telecoms in the region, worries it won’t always be on top. Competition is becoming more intense and customers have more choices. Safaricom, while dominant, lacked customer loyalty, its executives realized more than a year ago.
“We had a bit of a challenge where we had people using Safaricom by default just because it’s big. It’s there,” says Charles Wanjohi, head of customer segmentation, who was hired from rival Airtel to start the department last year. “The challenge is how to make all these 25 million people love you.”

Source: Quartz (link opens in a new window)

fintech, telecommunications