Kenya’s mobile telephony flourishes

By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya

Internet access and usage is flourishing in Kenya as the number of mobile subscribers grew by 1.7 percent between March 30 and June 30 this year to stand at 29.7 million.

In its quarterly sector statistics report for the fourth quarter of the 2011/2012 financial year, the Communication Commission of Kenya says the growth has seen penetration of mobile telephony services grow to 75.4%.

 Compared to the same period in 2011, the annual mobile subscriptions registered a significant growth of 17.5 percent from 25.2 million recorded in the 2010/2011 financial year.

Mobile money transfer services grew 2.73% to record 19.50 million registered subscribers. The total deposits handled during the period was 192.73 billion representing a 4% growth from 185.36 billion recorded in the previous period. Mobile money transfer service also continued to create employment opportunities across the country with 49,079 active agents recorded during the quarter.

The report says prepaid subscriptions continued to dominate the total mobile subscriptions with 29.4 million pre-paid subscriptions, representing 99.1% of the total subscriptions. Annual post-paid subscriptions grew by 18.3% to stand at 273,367 as at 30th June 2012.

In respect to the Internet, the number of subscriptions rose by 19.2% from 6.4 million in the previous quarter to 7.7million during the quarter under review.

Internet users

The number of estimates Internet users rose by 18.5% to stand at 14.032 million during the quarter.

“The annual growth in the estimated number of Internet users was recorded at 11.9% from 12.5 million recorded in the previous year. Of the total number of subscriptions, broadband subscriptions only represented 9.4% The annual growth in the Internet/data market segment may be attributed to the increase in international connectivity bandwidth by 58.0% to 264,584 Mbps during the quarter under review,” reads the report in part.

The total available bandwidth in the country was recorded as 574,704 Mbps during the and the used bandwidth represented 46.0% of the total available bandwidth capacity.

Mobile data/Internet subscriptions continued to dominate the Internet market contributing 98.9% of the total Internet/data subscriptions.

Employment creation

The ICT sector continued to create employment, as a total of 17,596 people were employed in the mobile, data and postal segments, with women making up 38.9%. These numbers are expected to continue growing with the expansion of ICT services across the economy.

Fixed line network and the postal and courier industry continued to face stiff competition from the telecommunications sector. Total fixed lines (fixed terrestrial lines and fixed wireless) recorded an annual subscription decline of 29.9% from 374,942 main fixed lines in FY 2010/11 to 262,711 in the quarter under review.

The number of local letters sent annually dropped to 73.9 million in the FY 2011/12 from 109.1 million recorded in the FY 2010/1, a 32.2 percent decrease. International incoming letters declined by 4.2 percent to record 439,986 in FY 2011/12 from 459,342 in the previous financial year. However, international outgoing letters recorded a positive annual growth of 29.3% from 6.4 million in FY 2010/11 to 8.3 million in FY 2011/12.

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