Safaricom is leading the surge in Kenyan communications services

Safaricom is the largest communications service company in Africa with over 19 million customers, most of which are in Kenya. In the fiscal year of 2013, they had revenues of $1.25 billion USD and net profits (before tax) of $300 million USD, up by 16 and 47% from the previous year. 77% of their revenue comes from voice services, 22% from M-pesa (more on this below), 10% from SMS, 6% from mobile broadband, and 2% from fixed data. They dominate market share in Kenya with 94% of the SMS market, 77% of voice data, 72.6% of mobile data, 64% of the subscriber market. UK based telecom company Vodafone acquired a 40% stake in the company in 2000. More detail about their financials can be found here.

One of their more interesting products is M-pesa, a mobile banking system that allows customers to transfer and withdraw money through SMS without having a bank account set up. They’ve accomplished this by opening bank accounts ‘on behalf’ of its customers and charging transaction fees based on the amount transferred or withdrawn. Mobile money transfers are growing in Kenya, with transfers up in 2012 by 32% compared to 2011 ($18.1 billion USD versus $13.75 billion USD). The company continues to invest in building more tailored solutions towards the Africa population, with the recent launch of a mobile rent collection service called Lipa Kodi na M-Pesa.

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