Kenya mobile subs near 30 million
By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya
Almost 30 million Kenyans now own a mobile phone, which they also use as a money transfer device, the latest official statistics show.
The number of mobile subscribers in Kenya has increased to 29.2 million between January and March 2012 up from 28.08 million in December 2012.
Mobile data and Internet subscriptions on GPRS/EDGE and 3G have also continued to dominate the internet market.
As at 31 March 2012, there were 6.49 million internet subscriptions, a 5.5% cent increase from the previous quarter. Ease of access of this service through the mobile phone and attractive promotional offers from mobile operators coupled with the popularity of social media among the young generation has, and will continue to contribute immensely to the growth of Internet market in the country.
According to the 3rd quarter sector statistics for the financial year 2011/2012 released by the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) on Tuesday, 89.10% of the population has access to mobile telephony.
The report shows that mobile money transfer service is playing a significant role in the country by ensuring seamless transfer of money, mobile payments among other transactions.
With 18.987 million mobile money transfer subscriptions, the total deposits handled during the quarter grew by 4.8% to Ksh 185.4 billion (USD2.23 billion). Notably, the total deposits have been growing steadily over the period, a clear indication that the demand for mobile money transfer services has continued to expand, possibly due to its convenience, ease of access, acceptability and as an instrument of financial inclusion for the unbanked population in the country.
“Further, growth in the data/Internet market and broadband services is expected in the coming periods as result of the increase in the available international bandwidth. However, the total used bandwidth is still very low with only 3.1% utilization. Initiatives that encourage the uptake of this capacity could be considered as this will ultimately stimulate demand for the capacity given the expected growth in demand for data/Internet and broadband services,” reads the report in part.
However the fixed line network market segment and postal and courier industry continued to record negative growth over the period. Fixed line services have continued to face challenges in vandalism of copper cables, high maintenance costs as well as fixed-mobile substitution.
In the postal and courier sector, a downward trend in the quantities of letters sent was recorded at 14.3%. Similarly, international outgoing letters experienced a decline of 20.6%. According to the regulator, the decline could be attributed to the increasing preference in the use of internet compared to letters.
The report says this downward trend in the performance of the postal and courier industry could be reversed with adoption and utilization of modern ICTs.
Provision of high quality postal and courier services coupled with a wide range of innovative products that meet customers growing expectation, could also be explored to reverse the negative trend experienced in the industry.