Competitive Strategies Adopted By Safaricom Kenya Limited To Maintain Market Leadership In The Internet Market In Kenya
Rapid evolution in the internet and telecommunications technology has resulted in an increase in the numbers and modes of internet access as well as its use. Traditional internet service providers have found themselves facing steep competition from telecommunication companies that were initially focused on provision of voice calls. These organizations have therefore been forced to strategically position themselves in order to succeed in the ever changing market driven by rapid changes, in technology, reduced access costs, reduced device costs, increasing customer demands, increased competition and increased government regulation in the industry. Safaricom Kenya limited has emerged as a leader in the internet market in Kenya with a current market share of 65.2% of all internet business in Kenya. This study sought to determine the competitive strategies adopted by Safaricom Kenya Limited to maintain market leadership in the internet market in Kenya, the factors that have contributed in the success of the company in the internet market in Kenya and the challenges the company faces in the employment of the strategies it has taken to ensure it maintains market leadership in the internet market in Kenya. To achieve this, a case study research method was chosen. The researcher used face to face interviews administered to five heads of departments that are key to the design, implementation, marketing, technology support, resourcing and customer support of internet products and services in Safaricom Kenya limited. The interviewer was aided by an interview guide to collect primary data that was qualitative in nature. Data collected was analyzed using the content analysis technique. The research found that Safaricom Kenya limited has adopted a number of strategies implemented simultaneously to maintain leadership in the internet market in Kenya. The strategies are innovation and technology leadership, new product values with distinctive capabilities, product differentiation strategy, focus and segmentation strategy, new business models, process innovation, customer intimacy and relationship management. These strategies enables the company to stay ahead of competition, provide relevant products and services and ensure customer relationships are managed. The research found that executive support, experienced management, highly skilled staff, seamless communication, strong financial capability and partnerships and innovation to be key factors that have enables the company to succeed in the internet market business in Kenya. The researcher established that customer education, fast rate of evolution of telecom technologies, slow rate of standardization of protocols in vendor equipment, huge capital costs and tight government regulations were challenges the company faced as it strived to implement the strategies to maintain market leadership in the internet market in Kenya. This research was limited to Safaricom Kenya limited and thus the findings obtained in this study may not be directly applied in a different market segment but rather be used for comparison purposes only. The researcher recommends a similar research to be conducted but in a different context such as the leading consumer goods provider or transport service provider. This would provide an excellent avenue for comparison on whether the competitive strategies adopted by Safaricom Kenya limited to maintain market leadership in the internet market in Kenya can be applied to a different market segment with similar results. Also, due to the changing dynamics in the internet and telecommunications market globally, the researcher recommends a repeat of the study after a period of about ten years to test if the strategies still hold true and allow for a reliable conclusion to be done.
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