Data/Internet subscribers in the three months to March grew by 8.2 per cent buoyed by increased rollout of 4G network by operators and falling prices of smartphones, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), latest Sector statistics report reveals.
During the third quarter of the FY 2018/19, the total data/Internet subscriptions grew to record 36.1 million subscriptions from 33.3 million subscriptions, translating to an 8.2 per cent increase. The figures released on Tuesday by CA also point to increased uptake of broadband Internet.
The number of broadband subscriptions increased by 10.9 percent to stand at 19.9 million from 18.0 million subscriptions recorded during the previous quarter. As at the end of the quarter under review, the broadband penetration stood at 42.9 per cent.
“The market entry of new players and most especially in the roll out of 4G mobile technologies, which offers more reliable and faster mobile Internet speeds, has increased the Internet/ Data users in the country,” part of the CA report read.
“The expansive roll out of LTE service by Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom and Jamii sites has resulted into increased access to and use of data/internet services in the country considering that 99% of data/internet users are on mobile data,” The LTE mobile telecommunication system was first deployed in the country in 2014 when Safaricom re-farmed part of their 1800MHz and recently (in 2016) deployed it in 800Mhz.
Other operators have also deployed the technology which includes Airtel in the 800MHz, Telkom in 800MHz and Jamii in 700MHz The spectrum – 800 MHz and 700Mhz frequency band – have the potential to provide broadband and data services at faster speeds and in a more cost-efficient manner.
The quarter under review posted a total of 35.7 million mobile subscriptions from 33.0 million mobile subscriptions posted during the previous quarter. Fibre Optic data subscriptions increased by 14.6 percent from 99,643 to 114,185 subscriptions during the quarter under review.
“The number of fixed cable modem subscriptions grew by 5.5 per cent to 102,165 from 96,876 subscriptions reported in the previous quarter. Other fixed data subscriptions declined by 6.2 per cent to post 6,285 from 6,700 subscriptions recorded during the previous quarter,” the report notes.
Mobile voice traffic
The period under review, the total mobile voice traffic grew by 8.2 percent to record 12.7 billion minutes from 11.8 billion minutes recorded last quarter. On-net mobile voice traffic grew by 7.3 per cent during the quarter under review to post 11.2 billion minutes from 10.4 billion minutes posted last quarter.
Traffic from own network and terminating into other networks-Off net grew significantly by 15.3 percent to record 1.4 billion minutes. Mobile to fixed network voice traffic grew by 16.3 percent to record 27.0 million minutes during the period under review .
Further, the partial completion of Voice Infrastructure and Services Projects network rollout in 31 sub-locations out of 78 sub-locations of Phase I under Universal Service Fund (USF) being implemented by the Authority has contributed towards the expansion of GSM voice infrastructure and services in the hitherto unserved populations in the far flung counties.
This trend is expected to continue in the coming quarters as the Authority strives to complete the Phase I USF projects and scalability of the same projects to the next phases. The mobile money services continue to offer customers a great value proposition, which has led to its increased uptake.
Although the number of active mobile money transfer subscriptions declined slightly during the period under review, the number of activities within the platform which include sending, withdrawal, transfers, and merchant transactions grew significantly. As at the end of the period under review, the number of active mobile money transfer subscriptions declined by 3.0 percent to stand at 29.1 million from 30.0 million subscriptions reported last quarter.
On the other hand, the number of active mobile money transfer agents increased from 198,234 to 202, 244. Similarly, mobile money transfer transactions stood at 663.7 billion and were valued at Kenya shillings1.8 trillion.
Decline in courier services
The postal and courier market in Kenya has experienced a steady decline in its core business of delivering letters and parcels for the past few years. This is mainly attributed to the growing pervasiveness of mobile and Internet services, and other digital technologies across the country.
However, the growing e-commerce market presents a great opportunity for the regeneration of the Postal and Courier market as e-commerce providers seek more reliable, cost effective and convenient channels of delivering goods purchased online. Mobile commerce transactions were recorded at 474.5 billion and were valued at Kenya shillings 1.29 trillion during the reporting period.
The Ministry of ICT is currently working with other relevant stakeholders to develop a National Addressing System, (NAS), a framework that provides for among others the naming/numbering of streets and/or numbering of properties and/or buildings/parcels of land to facilitate easy identification, location and access to such places on the ground. This is aimed at boosting e-commerce in the country and in return the Postal and Courier market.
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