Lack of Power Hampers Rural Mobile Uptake in Kenya


Lack of power is to blame for the slow expansion of the mobile phone network in rural areas, Safaricom chief executive, Michael Joseph, said on Monday, adding that although the firm was committed to expanding its network coverage in these areas, the exercise had been expensive.

"We are yet to fully penetrate the Kenyan market because of challenges such as lack of power," he said when he opened a new customer service centre in Nanyuki town worth Sh27 million.

However, Joseph, whose company holds 80 per cent of market share with a subscriber base of over 15.3 million, noted that total penetration of the Kenyan market is still in early stages of development. He added that his company is planning to open more outlets by the end of the month to bring quality services closer to the people.

Opening of the Nanyuki retail centre brings to eight the number of such units already unveiled by the firm across the country in the current financial year. By April this year when its financial year ends, Safaricom will have spent some Sh373 million in the retail expansion project. Fourteen new retail centres will have been opened, bringing the total to 32.

"I am delighted by the opening of the Nanyuki retail centre. This unit will help us better serve our growing customer base in this region, in an aesthetically appealing and ambient atmosphere. Backed by our trained staff, we are bringing Safaricom closer to our customers." The Nanyuki centre features an airy design bench-marked against international standards.

It allows subscribers to view new devices available at specially-designed "demo bars" and experience them to make informed choices about the devices on sale. The unit will serve the needs of Safaricom's PrePay and PostPay customers.