The paper "Africa: Safaricom Company Limited" is a great example of a report on information technology. The telecommunication industry in Africa has come a long way, with a wide range of development in a short period of time. However young it may seem, the age of technological development is taken seriously in the continent. The acquisition of cell phones has been on an increasing trend ever since the introduction of mobile handset services in the region. Many people would think that the region is less technologically advanced compared to other continents in the world.
Well, that may be true but not entirely true. Recent technological advancements are extended to the continent, giving it an opportunity to join the world as a global village. One of the companies battling for telecommunication supremacy in the region is Safaricom Limited. Formed in 1997, the company is one of the leading telecommunication service providers in the region. However, on a global scale, it is still recognized as a medium-sized company with an annual turnover of just over $250 million. It is largely owned by the British telecommunication giant, Vodafone, having 40% of its shares, with the rest shared between the private investors and Kenya’ s Telkom Company.
Bob Collymore, a native of South Africa is the current chief executive officer, having taken the reins from Michel Joseph. The company receives stiff competition from other telecommunication companies in the region such as Airtel Africa, Essar’ s Yu Limited, and State-owned Orange Kenya. Safaricom employs over 1500 people mainly stationed in Nairobi and other big cities like Mombasa, Kampala, Nakuru, and Dar-es-Salam. These cities house the retail outlets and customer care services for the company for diversification and decentralization of services.
Currently, it has regional nationwide dealerships to ensure customers across the country have access to its products and services. As of January 2010, Safaricom had 12 million subscribers. This is impressive factoring in that the nearest competitor in the East African region has almost half Safaricom’ s market share. The company’ s headquarters are situated in Westland, Nairobi, Kenya. Other offices are spread out in the East African region (Aker, Mbiti, 2010). Quality of Services and Improvement Much as the company enjoys a large market share compared to the nearest competitor in its region, it is far from meeting the preferences and quality of standard for the customers.
Many subscribers in the region have been complaining about the quality and reliability of the services of the company, which includes internet service delivery, money transfer services, mobile phone calls, and texting services. Of all the services, the money transfer service is the only one wholly appreciated by many in the region. It has even received global accolades from CNN and other business platforms. Therefore, there is still a lot to improve the company. Product Desirability in the Market Voice calling and texting services provided by Safaricom are far from satisfactory.
Many subscribers have been complaining of network failure and regular hitches, especially during peak hours and holiday seasons. It seems as if the company is unable to handle a lot of subscribers using their services all at once. Many have pointed out that the services are not reliable; prompting them to seek services from other service providers. Of ken, notice is the preferable switch to Airtel Africa, which many subscribers say that it has stronger and wider network coverage throughout the region.
Since the telecommunication industry is relatively young in the region, it is natural that there are bound to be network problems. A good part of the East African region does not have telecommunication boosters to ensure an adequate network. There are other places where one cannot even make a call. For a company that boasts of the lion’ s share in the market, this is unfortunate, since it should erect boosters throughout the region to ensure better service delivery.
However, Airtel Africa is not in a good position to compete with Safaricom, even though it might be having stronger network coverage due to the cost of operation. Reportedly, there are instances where SMS services fail completely. Delayed SMS delivery and total failure of the SMS service are some of the characteristics of the services. It is so unfortunate that in so instances, the subscriber gets SMS mix up, ending up receiving texts intended for other people. This causes a lot of fear in engaging in the service since it may infringe on the confidentiality of information.