Safaricom targets growth in data usage

November 11, 2011
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Safaricom wants to get its subscribers to use data much more/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 11 – Innovations like the webbox could be the tool for local mobile operator Safaricom to engage more customers, as it considers a more data-focused approach to salvage losses from its declining voice segment.

With over 18 million Prepay and Postpay subscribers, Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said the company is trying to get its subscribers to use data much more.

“We introduced the webbox, which we sold out in two weeks. It gives people the chance to access the Internet even if they don’t have a computer or a smart phone,” Collymore said during a consumer promotion launch on Friday.

Expected to boost Safaricom’s data traffic, the device that works on a plug and play basis is bundled with 200MB of data and retails for Sh5,000.

Safaricom has already diversified into Cloud computing, which boasts Africa’s largest indigenous cloud, complementing its other data offerings.

Apart from plans to build its own inland fibre optic network Collymore said the mobile operator intends to bring out more content centred on entertainment, health and education.

Meanwhile, Safaricom unveiled a multimillion-shilling consumer promotion just two days after posting a less than impressive performance for its half year results.

Despite a 47 percent decline in net profit, Collymore noted it was an opportune time to reward its customers amid difficult economic times.

“This promotion is our way of saying Merry Christmas and Happy 2012. It’s the run up to Christmas. We did the same thing when we did the Niko na Campaign and that was hugely successful,” he said.

Dubbed Furahi Na Safaricom, the promotion will award Sh1 million to one customer every weekday (Monday to Friday) for the next five weeks, while 100 subscribers will each win Sh10,000.

In addition 1,000 subscribers will win Sh100 shillings in airtime for the same period; in total over Sh53 million is to be won during the promotion.

“For every Sh10 they top up, they get one entry into the campaign. If you top up using M-PESA you will get two entries for every Sh10,” Collymore added.

The promotion is set to wrap up on December 16, 2011.

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