Why Are People Still Using Safaricom?
Earlier yesterday Safaricom had an outage with its internet. Many Kenyans took to Twitter and raided the cooperate giant with several complaints.
Some people said they had to switch to Airtel and Telecom to get access to the internet. While many people were complaining about Safaricom, some simply asked why they have never made the switch to other networks.
It is a valid question to ask. Let’s explore why Safaricom is still in some ways the better option even with its expensive rates.
They came to Kenya when the mobile industry was still very young and hardly many people had mobile phones. Just before this, Kenyans used telephone booths where they would line up to make phone calls. Some had telephones in their houses.
Then came the age of mobile phones that shifted everything. Celtel and Safaricom came into the mobile phone arena in 1999 and things began to shift. They were the main mobile network providers. However, Safaricom won the larger market share of customers as more people joined it.
Why Safaricom Is Ahead Of Competition
Over the years Safaricom has constantly won more customers. This is because:
They used aggressive strategic advertising and marketing
The advertising strategy of Safaricom as it started, featured local communities and made ads so moving. From the Maasai helping to fix a puncture of a car to the ads showing Lamu and other areas around the country.
Their marketing team thought that through. By creating such engaging advertisements it helped to drive more customers to subscribe to their network. They also added small wallets to their package of buying a line that did not cost anything extra.
Almost everyone was singing, “Niko na Safaricom….” And had the little Safaricom wallets too! Who doesn’t love freebies? It wasn’t huge but it was a plus and contributed to getting more clients!
They invested in good network coverage
As early as the 2000s Safaricom boasted of having the best network coverage in Kenya! They were not bragging about it. They invested heavily in ensuring that no matter where you were, in Kenya you could make a phone call or send a message.
Sure, there are places in Kenya where the network still is not so strong. However, it has the best coverage compared to other networks. They were the first to do this, which contributed to more subscribers and customers to their services.
Other networks are still playing catch up to Safaricom in most places in Kenya! Which is a major factor as to why, despite the recent expensive rates, people still stay subscribed to Safaricom.
Sending money via your mobile phone! The invention that the world has been playing catch up to for years! This innovation changed how we send money across the country. It was a game-changer for Safaricom.
Upon launching in March 2007, Mpesa had 19,000 active users by November of the same year, it had over 1 million active users! Meanwhile, its market share went from 73% to 84% in one year. The customers went from 6.1 million to 10.2 million in a year after the launch of Mpesa!
Ever since then Safaricom solidified its place as the better option. Celtel came and left, Zain came and replaced it then Airtel came in and is somehow surviving the competition from Safaricom.
What makes Safaricom tough to leave is not the great offers it has, it is the sheer reliability of the network. Even with Airtel money people still use Mpesa which is more expensive! Safaricom has managed to lock people into its network.
Even though people have Airtel and Telkom lines, Safaricom remains on their phones as well. The fact that they keep innovating before their competition and stay the trendsetters in the market makes them nearly impossible to beat.
Let’s also admit they are good at marketing. Their advertisements have been some of the best. They also used to do roadshows and give-aways during the roadshows. They were the first mobile network to introduce cash prizes for using their network and brought us Bonga points!
So while, we took to social media to complain yesterday, and we are all aware of how quickly their bundles get finished these days, we still stay. Why? Perhaps we are brainwashed to believe it’s the best network in Kenya.
All in all, their reach and network reliability is what a key factor. They also seem to be the only ones offering a vast selection of services and have special bundles for the youth under its Blaze network offers. Being cheap is not why we use it.
Which network do you use? Do you have Safaricom as a backup line or is it the main one? Why do you use the network you use? Do you think Safaricom is still the better option?