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M-PESA drives Safaricom growth

May 19, 2011 • Mobile and Telecoms

Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom (Image: File photo)

Kenya’s largest cellular mobile network, Safaricom has increased its subscriber base, but also fell 12.4% in pretax profit, a senior official has announced.

Safaricom Chief Executive Officer, Bob Collymore, said his telecoms operator’s full year pretax profit fell  to more than 12 billion Kenyan shillings (US$137 million) while the subscriber base, including M-PESA reached 17 million.

“M-PESA and data are the key drivers of our growth,” said Collymore. ”Despite mounting market pressure, we have been able to increase our subscriber base to 17 million. It shows that this is not about prices.”

Despite being Kenya and East Africa’s largest telecoms operator, Safaricom is facing some huge business threats from Airtel, the country’s second largest network.

Safaricom indicated that its voice revenues had come under pressure citing steep cuts in tariffs insisting that the recently introduced M-PESA money transfer service and data services increased.

In Safaricom, England’s Vodafone has shares while Airtel Kenya’s mobile network is owned by India’s Bharti.

In the results on Wednesday, Safaricom’s shares ended 1.27 percent down at 3.90 shillings while the suscriber base rose 8.8 percent to 17.2 million.

The widely appreciated M-PESA

has so far reached South Africa, among others, 45 countries has grown 45.5 percent to 13.8 thereby generating revenue of 11.78 billion shillings.

By Pamela Wanjiku

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