Safaricom seeks to double internet users to 8 million by end of 2012

BROWSE THE INTERNET @ 2/= A MINUTE: A Safarcicom banner announcing one of its data access offers for mobile phone users.

Safaricom will double the number of its Mobile Phone internet users from 4 million to 8 million by the end of this year, according to the firm’s general manager for consumer business unit (CBU) Peter Arina.

Arina said Safaricom plans to achieve this milestone by reaching its subscribers through a 3-month experiential tour that started on April 14 and set to end on June 31 2012.

The road-shows will be done in partnership with Qualcomm – a global manufacturer of micro processors – will target Nairobi, Mombasa, Thika, Nakuru and Kisumu and will visit areas with heavy human traffic including malls, sporting events and universities.

Qualcomm is an American global telecommunication corporation quoted on the Ney York Stock Exchange that designs, manufactures and markets digital wireless telecommunications products and services.

“They will take the form of two vans custom-built as ‘Mobile Experience Centers.’ The vans will be fitted with 32-inch screens and laptops with dongles for users to try out 3G services.  There will also be a number of live demonstrations of smartphones using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, enabling users to socially network, watch HD video, speedy Web browsing and run the latest apps seamlessly,” said Arina

Through the road-shows, Safaricom intends to democratize the internet, by taking the internet experience to the people. This will in turn improve internet access and penetration for majority of people living in the rural areas who have little or no access to internet connectivity.

Currently, 70 per cent of Kenya’s total population of 40 million stays in the rural area.

Ten years ago, Safaricom had 1 million subscribers while currently, the network boasts of around 18 million subscribers. The total number of Kenyans on Facebook is 2 million.

With the Safaricom 3G Experiential Tour, users of cell phones in the rural areas will be the target and key in the increase of growth in the telecom sector.

The Huawei IDEOS smartphone.

Last year, through a partnership of Safaricom and Huawei, over 200,000 IDEOs phones were sold, leading to a 236 per cent growth of smartphones in the Kenyan market. The number of people who access the internet through the mobile phone on the Safaricom network is currently at 4 million.




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