A rapid mobile phone growth period is expected to remain the main highlight in the Kenyan mobile telecoms market this year, a senior player in the sector has predicted.
Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Mr. Michael Joseph is projecting strong growth for the local mobile telecommunication sector coupled by renewed competition amongst the two players.
And in light of increased competition, Safaricom staffers led by the Chief Human Resource officer Susan Kiama have vowed to ensure that the firm retains its market leadership position this year.
Notwithstanding growing competition from Celtel Kenya and the expected entry of a third mobile phone operator, Safaricom staff have unanimously endorsed a proposal by the firm’s CEO Mr. Michael Joseph to work towards attaining a 3.5 million subscriber base goal by March next year.
Speaking during a staff breakfast meeting to usher in Safaricom’s new financial year, Safaricom CEO Mr. Michael Joseph disclosed that the firm is now poised to offer better services following a recent network systems upgrade and expansion program.
“I am proud that you have all made a significant contribution to Safaricom’s tremendous growth. However, the onus is on us now to ensure that we don’t become complacent,” Joseph said.
The Safaricom boss disclosed that the firm had managed to successfully integrate a new Intelligent Network (IN) platform on the network as part of his strategy to ensure Safaricom’s continued growth.
The integration of the new IN platform installed by a leading Chinese network systems provider Huawei Technologies makes Safaricom the most advanced network within the region featuring 2.5G capabilities.
Such capabilities, Joseph said will afford Safaricom a unique opportunity to launch and deploy innovative custom tailored products and services for the local market. “Like never before, Safaricom subscribers will very soon start enjoying highly exclusive world class products and services that add value to their lifestyles,” Joseph pointed out.
During the breakfast meeting, Joseph further disclosed that a Kshs 14billion budget had been set aside to finance Safaricom’s capital expenditure this year.
The firm has already allocated more than Kshs 6billion drawn from the capital expenditure budget to facilitate the construction of more than 300 new base transceiver (BTS) sites as part of the firm’s network expansion project.
At a cost of Kshs 20 million per BTS, the project is expected to largely enhance the Safaricom’s rural Kenyan network coverage.
The rural Kenya expansion project comes hot on the heels of a similar urban project nearing completion at a cost of Kshs 2 billion.