Kenya: Safaricom plagued by Airtel’s aggressive advertising

Safaricom elections
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore. (Image Source:
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore. (Image Source:

Kenya operator Safaricom has obtained temporary orders against its rival’s aggressive advertising on mobile money transfers, this is according Standard Digital News. According to the report, Safaricom feels resentment towards Airtel’s move to display the M-Pesa logo on its advertorial to market the Airtel Money Service.

The report reveals that the operator convinced High Court judge Justice Francis Gikonyo to order Airtel to suspend any adverts bearing Safaricom’s M-Pesa sign until the case is determined. There is a reasonable apprehension Airtel infringed trademark and is likely to further infringe on the registered logos, protested Safaricom.

Safaricom takes close to 70 percent of the mobile money market with over 17 million subscribers, while its rival commands 3 million subscription, which translates to around 15 percent market share.

According to Safaricom litigation officer Daniel Ndaba, Airtel was notified about the adverts, but no action was taken four days after the notification. The legal officer told the court that Airtel wrote back saying that it was not aware of the matter and promised to rectify the situation. Ndaba told the court that his company had already incurred losses as a result and now wants Airtel to compensate it for breach of its trademark.

According to the report, the temporary restraining orders by the judge will be extended until the case is determined. Both companies, however, will negotiate about the issue and will come back to court for a mention on July 15.

Darryl Linington