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Type Public. Owned by Vodafone 40% & Permanent Secretary (The Treasury) 35%
Industry Telecommunications
Headquarters Nairobi, Kenya
Key people Robert Collymore, CEO.
Products G.S.M.-related products
Revenue Increase $1.428 Billion (2013)
Operating income Increase $293.103 million (2013)
Net income Increase $198.850 million (2013)
Employees 3000+
Website www.safaricom.co.ke

Safaricom, Ltd is a leading mobile network operator in Kenya. It was formed in 1997 as a fully owned subsidiary of Telkom Kenya. In May 2000, Vodafone Group Plc of the United Kingdom acquired a 40% stake and management responsibility for the company.

As of May 27, 2013, Robert Collymore is the CEO; he succeeded Michael Joseph on November 1, 2010, after Joseph's ten years as Safaricom CEO.[1] Robert Collymore has spent most of his career in the telecommunications industry starting with British Telecommunications where he held a number of marketing, purchasing and commercial roles over a 15-year period. Recent reports appearing in the cross section of the press indicate that Vodafone Plc of UK only owns 35% and the remaining 5% is owned by a little-known company, Mobitelea Ventures Limited. The reports have caused a stir which led to the summoning of its CEO Michael Joseph to appear before the PIC "Public Investment Committee", during which he denied knowing who the other shareholder is. It is widely believed that the former regime arm twisted Vodafone to shed off the 5% as a kickback to high-ranking officials in the regime. A WikiLeaks report stated that it was once owned by Nicholas Biwott, Charles Fidel Marshall, Gideon Moi and The Post Office. Safaricom's initial public offering of stock, on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, closed in mid-April 2008.

Safaricom employs over 1,500 people mainly stationed in Nairobi and other big cities like Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret in which it manages retail outlets. Currently, it has nationwide dealerships to ensure customers across the country have access to its products and services.

As of January 2010, Safaricom boasts a subscriber base of approximately 12 million, most of whom are in the major cities - Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru.

Its headquarters are located in Safaricom House, Waiyaki Way in Westlands, Nairobi. It has other offices in the city center in I&M building, Kenyatta Avenue, on Kimathi Street and at Shankardass House, next to Kenya Cinema Moi Avenue.

Its main rival is Airtel Kenya. Other rivals include Essar's YU and Orange Wireless.

Safaricom has charitable functions where it helps the less fortunate in the society mostly through the Safaricom Foundation.

In November 2012, Safaricom announced it would be offering a new mobile phone banking product in conjunction with the Commercial Bank of Africa, tapping into an underdeveloped financial services market.[2] In 2014 Safaricom partnered with Britam and Changamka Micro Health to provide insurance to Kenyans with low income. It is known as Linda Jamii.[3]


Safaricom was started in 1993 as a department of the former state-owned telecommunications operate, Kenya Post and Telecommunication Corporation. In 1997, Safaricom Limited was incorporated as a private limited liability company with 40% ownership held by Vodafone Kenya Limited. In 2002, it was converted to a public company while the government held 60% of the shares, 25% of which would be auctioned off in 2008 on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.[4] Safaricom has introduced a number of services to Kenya and been a leading player in the mobile market and national economy.

Flashback service[edit]

As a result of the limited income of most of Safaricom's customers, network congestion emerges from a practice called 'flashing'. Flashing is the practice of calling another mobile user, but disconnecting before the connected call is answered. It provides a method for mobile users to alert someone that they wish to be called, but either can't, or won't, pay for the call. The method is cost-free for the users; but costly in network bandwidth.

That is why Safaricom sometime ago introduced a flashback service that gave every subscriber five free SMS messages with a single pre-defined message stating "Please call me. Thank you". Although the messages can be annoying when sent just for fun they are very useful when one is in trouble and has no airtime. It also gives parents more of a reason to get mobile phone for their children without the real need for getting them airtime. However, at this time, the flashbacks can only be sent to Safaricom subscribers due to some feuds with Airtel, Safaricom's main competitor.

Electronic cash service[edit]

Safaricom has developed and launched nationwide a mobile banking service called M-PESA, that allows Kenyans to transfer money via SMS.[5] The service does not require users to have bank accounts, an important aspect in a country like Kenya, where many people do not have bank accounts. With M-PESA, the user can buy digital funds at any M-PESA agent and send that electric cash to any other mobile phone user in Kenya, who can then redeem it for conventional cash at any agent. This system is remotely comparable to hawala banking or services like Western Union. An M-PESA-enabled mobile phone can also function as an electronic wallet and can hold up to 100,000 Kenyan shilling.[6] Safaricom stakeholder Vodafone, which partnered in the development of M-PESA, has announced that it intends to roll out M-PESA internationally as well.

Kipokezi service[edit]

Safaricom launched the Kipokezi service in May 2010 that enabled its subscribers to send and receive email and online chat through standard mobile phones.[7] Any phone with SMS service can use Kipokezi.[8]

Prior to the service fewer than one in ten Kenyans had accessed the Internet but the Kipokezi launch allowed more than a third of the population to exchange email and online chat messages.[9] The Kipokezi is provided by ForgetMeNot Africa.[10]

The service does not require users to have an Internet connection as it uses ForgetMeNot Africa’s Handset Initiation technology.

Other services[edit]

Safaricom together with many other companies have come up with different services for use by the public ranging from weather updates to market prices and even entertainment updates. The company has plans to provide Wi-Fi internet connection in large malls, SMEs and government agencies in Kenya [11]

Internet connectivity[edit]

It was the first company in East Africa to possess 3G Internet technology with recent success of 4G connectivity though they lacked the proper broadcast spectrum for the service.

Frequency band[edit]

GSM and 3G 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz[12]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safaricom — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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1931 news items

The Standard Digital News

The Standard Digital News
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:52:30 -0700

NAIROBI, KENYA: Safaricom is formally seeking the approval of its shareholders to acquire various assets of Essar Telecom, the operators of yu mobile network, for Sh6.9 billion ($69.25 million). As a first towards the realisation of this dream ...

Wall Street Journal (blog)

Wall Street Journal (blog)
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 07:37:30 -0700

JOHANNESBURG—Kenya's Vodafone subsidiary, Safaricom, announced on Tuesday that it will drastically cut fees for smaller transactions on its mobile-money service, M-Pesa, as it prepares to head off competition from Equity Bank's new rival service.
Ultimate Rugby Sevens (UR7s)
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 22:37:30 -0700

The third leg of the Safaricom Sevens Series, the Safaricom Driftwood Sevens takes place on 23/24 August at the Mombasa Sports Club. Series champions KCB are currently perched atop the series log with the maximum 44 points from two outings that saw ...

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 05:11:15 -0700

The telecom industry in Kenya is headed for a major re-alignment following an order to Safaricom to open up her mobile money platform. The ruling by the Competition Authority of Kenya however fell short of ordering Safaricom to cut fees charged on ...
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 12:07:30 -0700

Safaricom, 40 percent owned by Vodafone Plc (VOD), and Airtel Kenya Ltd., a unit of New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel Ltd., announced plans in March to buy yumobile, Kenya's third-biggest network operator that's owned by Essar Telecom Kenya Ltd. Safaricom, ...
The Standard Digital News
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 22:25:01 -0700

On a warm September morning last year, Madhur Taneja, Essar Telecom Kenya chief executive made a call to his Safaricom counterpart Bob Collymore. This was a call not out of its place; chief executive officers in any one industry talk to each other all ...


Thu, 21 Aug 2014 04:00:09 -0700

Leading operator – and M-Pesa service provider – Safaricom, opposed Equity Bank's plans, suggesting the use of ultra-slim SIM cards could pose a security threat to customers, and asked the CAK to prohibit the use of the cards in Kenya. According to ...
The Standard Digital News
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 08:11:15 -0700

Nairobi, Kenya: Mobile service provider Safaricom Tuesday announced a reduction in cost of sending money via M-Pesa for amounts ranging between Sh10 and Sh1,500. The new tariffs will see up to 67 per cent reduction in cost of sending money in the low ...

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