Why Mobile Data Is The New Battle Front for Telecommunications.

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Mobile data has become the new battle front for telecommunication companies as revenues from calls decrease and messaging apps eat into the SMS revenue stream. Mobile data internet subscriptions have created a fighting arena where telecoms have to define their dominance by offering better mobile data deals and higher internet speeds.

It has come to this point. Who is faster? Who is better? In the telecommunication battle in Kenya, Safaricom 4G or Airtel 4G?  And how will pricing affect that balance. Well, very soon it will depend on how the majority of Kenyans use their cell phones, especially on social media and other online platforms. In the new digital world, efficiency needs will define your position before pricing.

Airtel Kenya announced on Friday that it expects to start a countrywide rollout of high-speed 4G internet network in April, largely dependant on the success of  tests in 20 sites in Nairobi from next week. The pilot in Nairobi will be followed by connection in Mombasa and Kisumu, growing the sites covered to 65, the second-largest mobile network provider said.

The mobile Telco Company has said a 4G network will allow consumers to enjoy faster browsing speed and explore more media on diverse devices.

Airtel will be the second mobile service provider to unveil the 4G network, after Safaricom Limited launched an expanded 4G network which now is fully available in seven cities, and the surrounding areas .

The industry statistics, released by the Communications Authority of Kenya, show Safaricom still controls the lion’s share of the mobile data market even though its subscriptions declined by 2.2 percentage points compared to the previous quarter. Airtel Kenya’s data market share recorded a 3.1 percentage point growth, increasing from 18% to 21.1%.where on my opinion pricing of data was in control.

The pricing undercurrents when it comes to digital services, changes a little to what we are used to in other commodities. For example, Kenya has very price sensitive consumers, goods with cheaper prices tend to move faster but I believe the same does not apply especially in telecommunication services. Cheap means you are compromising on something.

To drive mobile data uptake, Safaricom had implemented a 36% reduction in data pricing, cheaper 4G devices at Safaricom shops and specialized 4G bundles as it continues its investment in building the most advanced 2G, 3G and 4G capability.

Safaricom introduced My Data Manager, a tool that gives customers power to control data bundle usage, Customers can dial 544# to access My Data Manager. This tool, is  available on any handset from a short code,1002#ok (prepay) or *2002# for post pay and  follow the prompts .This will allow customers to block further airtime use after using up their bundle.

When it’s come to data, Airtel offers a cheaper alternative to Safaricom but at bigger compromise on efficiency, when I assign a value to efficiency then the table flips.