Telkom Kenya has seen its subscriber numbers drop by 676,389 or 16 percent in the three months ended September, making it the only telco to register a reduced customer base.
Data from the Communications Authority (CA) shows that the company’s mobile subscriptions stood at 3.5 million in the review period, down from 4.2 million in the preceding quarter.
Lower subscriber numbers also resulted in reduced voice traffic, with Telkom’s registering 552.8 million minutes down from 647.3 million minutes.
Its voice market share declined by 0.9 percent to 3.1 percent.
The performance comes as the company moves closer to complete its merger with rival Airtel Kenya, having received regulatory approvals to finalise the deal.
Safaricom grew its mobile subscriptions 4.4 percent to 34.5 million and it was followed by Airtel whose customer base jumped 2.2 percent to 13.1 million. Equitel’s users rose one percent to 1.9 million from 1.8 million.
Safaricom’s voice traffic increased to 10 billion minutes from 9.1 billion minutes but its market share dropped by 0.4 percentage points to 56.4 percent.
“Airtel Networks Kenya Limited outgoing mobile traffic rose to 7.2 billion minutes during the period under review, from 6.3 billion minutes registered in the preceding quarter,” CA said in the report.
“Consequently, its voice market share increased by 1.3 percentage points to register 40.3 per cent.”
Telkom and Airtel see their merger as offering them a better chance of competing against Safaricom.
In terms of network infrastructure, Safaricom had the highest number of frequencies at 82.5 as of last year. It was followed by Telkom which had 48.5, Airtel (40) and Jamii Telecom (17).
Operating as one, Airtel and Telkom will match Safaricom’s capacity on most spectrum bands.
Airtel says its strategy of cutting prices is helping it acquire more customers.
Airtel will acquire Telkom’s mobile operations, enterprise and carrier services in the transaction.
Current shareholders of Airtel and Telkom will take stakes in the merged entity which is expected to trade as a joint venture dubbed Airtel-Telkom.
Private equity firm Helios has a 60 percent stake in Telkom where the remaining 40 percent equity is held by the Kenyan government.
Airtel is owned 68.31 percent by India’s Bharti Airtel. Telkom earlier said that its real estate portfolio and specific government services will not form part of the combined entity.
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