Market dominance over the telecommunications sector could take longer than anticipated. This after the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) said that it is re-advertising a tender to hire consultants for the job. Kenya has two giants taking on the battle field for market dominance I would always bet on safaricom than on Airtel.
My confidence on Airtel sunk last year after its chief executive Adil El Youssefi threatens Airtel could exit the Kenyan market if new regulations are not passed to curb Safaricom’s dominance, claims made by Airtel accusing Safaricom on issuance of 4G frequency spectra and dragging its feet on enforcement of market dominance .
What Airtel needs to understand as a global network with wide market in Africa than Safaricom, its needs to invest and be creative instead of complain. Microsoft was once the be it all in computing but failed to be innovative and newer players came in to feel the consumer space i.e Apple, Google have taken Microsoft to the cleaners and now Microsoft is playing catch up. What happened to Kodak when it failed to innovate into digital cameras? Airtel has to adapt the random change in markets.
There are many unfulfilled slots in Kenya that go uncultivated. If Airtel going to compete with safaricom in the same areas offer better and cheaper services as this is the new digital world where price, efficiencies and need are king.
Airtel flies in Artists who are not so popular in Kenya, Safaricom organizes Safaricom Live with roadshows and artists like mike Rua, Size8, etc. Airtel sponsors expensive events like Music Trace, Sondeka. Safaricom sponsors the Safaricom Jazz, Safaricom 7s and you want to know why Airtel makes losses? They are not in touch with the market. They have one foot in the elites and another in the mass market segments, their marketing department just doesn’t get it. Spend your money where your most subscribers are and you’ll get return on advertising spend.
“We have been trying for over five years and have not made one dollar in profit. Airtel is likely to exit Kenya if the market structure is not addressed in terms of dominance,” said Mr Youssefi
We feel you Mr Youssefi. We know how hard it is to run a business. But until you guys stop bashing Safaricom, make Airtel a Kenyan brand, focus on a niche and stick to it, I’m sure you’ll go far. Invest in your network, do some corporate social responsibility make you a part of us.