When Safaricom CEO, MJ, recently and in the past said that the company “will not engage in any war in the telecomms market”, we knew that he wasnt actually sure what was coming his way. You know he was coming out as aloof, arrogant and just not a friend of the consumer but literally a blood sucker. We have heard stories on how we were suppose to get cheap internet with the landing over the cables at the coast.
The story immediately changed with Safaricom, Orange, UUNET, AccessKenya and other operators declaring that they must “return investment” before anyone can think of even reducing the price.
The game changed when we accepted two Indian companies, ESSAR and Bharti, to invest in the market and enter the Telecomms business. We know that Tata had a foothold here before but we couldn’t feel it because it was engaging mostly at corporate and government level.
But when we had Bharti and Essar dealing with the consumers, everyone (operators) came to realise that it is the small things that matters. Essar has continued to give the Zain and Orange much competition and when Zain was acquired by Bharti Airtel, we have seen gloves off now with the biggest saving so far.
Some will argue that it is the CCK which brought about the change. No. CCK is a vampire which has always played referee to the advantage of Safaricom. You see even firms which it is hiring as “consultants”. People who are so biased you can smell it from the top of Mt kenya.
But it was interesting to see Safaricom’s Michael Joseph concede yesterday when prodded by scribes . Safaricom was signing this deal with Sarova and after that scribes were having an opportunity to put the CEO down and one asked him if Safaricom was going to engage in price wars. Michael Joseph said it is not only a price war but it is a Total war. Yaani It is a war on price, products, services and even a war on wars.
So we foresee Safaricom doing the following to stay on-top;
- Safaricom is going to launch an API for its Mpesa service very soon to meet teh demands of the developers and internet enterpreneurs
- Safaricom is going to target strategic small businesses for acquisitions and partnerships in data and otehr value added services
- Safaricom is upping its game of collaborating with handset and mobile computing manufactures like Nokia, HP, and Huawei to lower the cost of investment on the products.
- Safaricom will be going overboard to sponsor more of CSR and corporate activities and now its is going to target the Youth more and more with ideas like the Facebook Face-Off.
- Safaricom will be doing promotions like you have never seen before in the region. Promotions like Masonko na Safaricom which dishes out Ksh 150 M are very rare to come by anywhere.
What do you think Safaricom will be doing to maintain its grip in the market? It is always nice to hear you view.