First-ever internet subscription drop in Kenya

The number of local internet subscribers dropped to 11.6 million in the quarter ending September 2013 up from 12.4 million in June 2013.  This represented a decline of 6.1 per cent and the first-ever negative growth recorded in the local Internet market.

According to the CCK Quarterly Sector Statistics Report for the first quarter of the 2013/14 financial year (July-September 2013) released today, the number of local internet users dipped to 19.1 million down from 19.6million posted in the previous quarter, effectively reducing the penetration rate of Internet services from 49.7% to 47.1%. The decline is attributed to the revision of the national population figure from 39.5 million to 40.7 million as reflected in the Economic Survey 2013. 

During the same period, the mobile telephony subscribers increased by 2.5 per cent to reach 31.3million up from 30.5 recorded in the previous quarter. The number of SMS went up by 19.5 per cent to 5.2 billion up from 4.3 billion recorded in the previous quarter. Each subscriber sent an average of 54 SMS per month, according to the report.

The number of multimedia messages sent, however, dropped from 2.5million in the previous quarter to 2.2 million largely as a result of competition from other similar services such as Over the Top messaging applications (e.g. Whatsapp) and the higher cost of the service compared to SMS.    

Mobile money transfer services continued on an upward trajectory with subscribers increasing by 1.1 per cent to reach 25.1million up from 24.8million in the previous quarter.  Similarly, the number of agents grew by 3.7 per cent to reach 91,750 up from 88,466 posted during the previous quarter.

Bandwidth capacity shrunk marginally to stand at 862,834 Mbps during the quarter of which the utilised capacity stood at 360,900 Mbps representing 41.8 per cent of the total capacity.

According to the statistics report, the number of licensed FM radio stations and analogue TV stations during the quarter were 103 and 14, respectively. With the impending analogue switch off, 25 channels had already been activated on the digital platform.

Although the postal/courier sector continued declining, the emergence of new industries such as e-commerce are likely to spur positive growth in the sector mainly through provision of last mile delivery of online purchases.

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