Kenya: Yu Free Calls Offer Nets New 500, 000 Clients

Telecoms

Fee calls within the Yu mobile network helped the operator to add more than half a million customers between September and December last year. The smallest mobile company in the country now has 2.2 million customers, a 36.8 per cent growth in the four months up from 1.6 million subscribers as at September.

This was the largest percentage jump in new subscriptions compared to the same period the previous year where the operator only attracted 46, 000 new subscribers.

Faced with severe voice competition, Yu in July 2011 launched free calls tariff between 6 am and 6 pm everyday and if the Communications Commission of Kenya statistics is anything to go by, the strategy seems to be working. By offering free calls, the company aims to grow its subscriber base which it hopes will make it profitable in the long run.

Safaricom, the biggest operator, gained 741, 000 new subscribers for the period between September and December 2011, a 4 percentage growth.

Orange gained 144, 000 new subscriptions from 16, 000 the previous period while Airtel attracted 100, 000 new subscriptions from 557, 000 in the previous period.

As a whole, CCK says there were 28.08 million mobile phone subscriptions in Kenya up from 26.4 million recorded during the previous period, a 6 per cent growth.

"The increase in mobile subscriptions is an indication of operators' determination to continue growing their subscriber base through tactful marketing approaches as a strategy towards customer acquisition," the report says.

The period saw Safaricom and Airtel lossing some market share. Safaricom's market share dropped to 66.6 per cent, down from 67.7 per cent while Airtel share dropped to 15.2 per cent down from 15.7 recorded during the previous period. Orange recorded 10.3 per cent from 10.4 per cent while Yu's share went up to 7.9 per cent from 6.2 per cent recorded during the previous period .