Pedestrians check their mobile phones under the shelter of parasol featuring a Bharti Airtel Ltd. logo in Lilongwe, Malawi. (Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg)

Airtel Kenya Bites Into Safaricom Market Share in Second Quarter

(Bloomberg) -- Bharti Airtel’s Kenyan unit gained subscribers for a second consecutive quarter as rivals including the nation’s biggest operator, Safaricom Plc, relinquished market share, according to the industry regulator.

Airtel’s subscribers increased by 19 percent to 8.7 million in the three months through March, which drove its mobile-money transactions, data, voice and SMS traffic higher, the Communications Authority said in a report emailed Wednesday from the capital, Nairobi.

While Safaricom’s customers were steady at 29.5 million, the company shed 2 percentage points of market share to 67 percent, the CA said. Airtel’s portion grew to 19.7 percent from 17.2 percent.

Airtel Kenya Bites Into Safaricom Market Share in Second Quarter

Airtel’s active mobile-money users grew 22 percent to 3.39 million from the previous quarter, while the value of transactions grew to 1.88 billion shillings ($18.7 million). Safaricom’s mobile-money platform, known as M-Pesa, accounted for almost 80 percent of the 1.87 trillion shillings transacted in the quarter.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.