#SafaricomAt15: Here are the 15 major milestones achieved

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The year 2015 has seen Safaricom mark 15 years since it was officially launched and has seen Safaricom launch a number of promotions to thank its 17 million customers.

A look back in to Safaricom’s history, Safaricom was based on an analogue ETACS network and was upgraded to GSM in 1996 (licence awarded in 1999). Safaricom Limited was incorporated on 3 April 1997 under the Companies Act as a private limited liability company. It was converted into a public company with limited liability on 16 May 2002.

By virtue of the 60% shareholding held by the Government of Kenya (GoK), Safaricom was a state corporation within the meaning of the State Corporations Act (Chapter 446) Laws of Kenya, which defines a state corporation to include a company incorporated under the Companies Act which is owned or controlled by the Government or a state corporation.

Until 20 December 2007, the GoK shares were held by Telkom Kenya Limited (“TKL”), which was a state corporation under the Act.

Following the offer and sale of 25% of the issued shares in Safaricom held by the GoK to the public in March 2008, the GoK ceased to have a controlling interest in Safaricom under the State Corporations Act and therefore the provisions of the State Corporations Act no longer apply to it.

Here are some of the major milestones the company has made since then:

In 2000, Safaricom was officially launched in Kenya and introduced per second billing as well as a free customer care line.

In 2002, Safaricom launched its network across Nairobi and Mombasa and its first Kshs.100 scratch cards were launched.

In 2003, Safaricom launched its Simu ya Jamii Services. Through Simu ya Jamii users were able to make affordable calls at regulated rates charged per unit second. Simu ya Jamii provided affordable communication services to all Kenyans who may not have had personal handsets or did not top-up regularly.

In 2004 Safaricom launched Mobile internet.

In 2005 The telecom Giant launched its Sambaza service, which allow its subscribers to share credit or send credit to loved ones and friends. The year also saw Safaricom launch its flash back services, “Please Call Me, Thank you.” In September 2005 Safaricom powered to the 3 million-subscriber mark.

In 2006 the year began with a move to Safaricom’s new headquarters. We donated KShs 10m towards alleviating hunger in the country as a result of the drought.

In 2007, M-PESA was launched. M-PESA is a Safaricom product that allows users to transfer money using a mobile phone. The innovation revolutionized how Kenyans did things. Kenya became the first country in the world to use this service, which is offered in partnership between Safaricom and Vodafone. M-PESA was made available to all members of the public, even if they do not have a bank account or a bankcard. The year also saw Kenya’s first ever 3G license giving consumers a superior internet experience.

In 2008, Safaricom became East and Central Africa’s largest, IPO, the Safaricom IPO was concluded in June 2008.

In 2008 came the launch of Bamba 5 and Bamba 10– The lowest in the market. The company also reached 15 million subscribers. The Simu ya Solar Phone – first Solar phone that has an inbuilt solar charger. They also further invested in data platforms which heralded a data revolution.

In May 2010 Safaricom enabled its subscribers to send and receive email and online chat through standard mobile phones. Any phone with SMS service can use Kipokezi. Prior to the service fewer than one in ten Kenyans had accessed the Internet but the Kipokezi launch allowed more than a third of the population to exchange email and online chat messages. The Kipokezi is provided by ForgetMeNot Africa.

In 2011 Safaricom ‘s Profit hit the Kshs. 20.9 billion mark, rugby (Safaricom Sevens) and football (Sakata Ball – The Safaricom Challenge) got a big boost with major sponsorships from Safaricom.

In May 2012 launched M-Shwari in partnership with CBA which is a paperless banking service offered through M-PESA which enables one to open and operate an M-Shwari bank account through your mobile phone, via M-PESA, without having to visit banks or fill out any forms. The service does not require users to have an Internet connection as it uses ForgetMeNot Africa’s Handset Initiation technology.

In 2014 Safaricom launched the first ever 4G network in Kenya.

In 2014 Safaricom also partnered with Britam and Changamka Micro Health to provide insurance to Kenyans with low income. It is known as Linda Jamii

And in 2015 Safaricom announced a Ksh 32b profit. On 30th October, we launched a revamped website that features widgets- a quick and easy way of self-service – and retained accessibility for the visually impaired.

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