Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Connectivity

Kenya's mobile penetration increases to over 125%

Article Image
Kenya's mobile market has continued to grow as demand for ICT services rose in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country has a mobile SIM penetration rate of 125.8% and added 2.8 million SIM cards in the quarter ended September 2020.

This is according to the newest stats from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) – what it calls the Sector Statistics Report for the First Quarter of the 2020/21 Financial Year – which really provides an overview of the performance and trends in ICT sector for July 1 to September 30, 2020.

At the end of the quarter Kenya had 59.8 million active mobile subscriptions (SIM cards), up from 57 million subscriptions reported three months earlier. The CA puts Kenya's population at about 47.6 million, based on the 2019 Census Report.

Mobile Subscriptions and Penetration

Prepaid is still by far the most popular option in Kenya with 58.6 million prepaid users and just 1.2 million contract customers.

The growth in the quarter was also faster, adding 2.8 million more SIMs compared to 1.8 million in the quarter before.

"The substantial growth is attributed to [a] smartphones device financing service campaign run by Safaricom PLC dubbed 'Lipa Mdogo Mdogo' which began on 28th July 2020 and was aimed at acquisition of new customers," the report said.

Airtel's revised on-net pay-as-you-go rate for all Tubonge packs could also have enticed new customers, it added.

Market leader Safaricom lost a tiny bit of market share, with mobile subscriptions dropping by 0.5% in the quarter to a market share of 63.7%. Airtel and Telkom Kenya gained 0.4% and 0.3% to post 27.2% and 6.3% market shares, respectively. Small operator Equitel lost 0.2% to record a market share of 2.8%.

Market Shares in Mobile Subscriptions per Operator

Data and voice growth

Overall voice traffic in Kenya grew by 19.6% during the quarter, to 18.2 billion minutes compared to 15.2 billion minutes recorded last quarter. The increase was attributed to specific promotions launched by operators in the quarter.

The CA said that in the quarter the Internet/data market also experienced positive growth with rising dependence on digital platforms for work, learning, healthcare, shopping and entertainment.

Total data/Internet subscriptions rose by 4.8% to 43.5 million. Mobile data subscriptions now account for 98.5% of all Internet subscriptions in Kenya.

Unsurprisingly, Safaricom had the biggest market share when it comes to mobile data subscriptions, at 67.5%, despite a 1.2% drop quarter-on-quarter. Airtel gained 0.8% mobile data subs market share, to grow to 26.8%.

Market Shares in Mobile Data Subscriptions per Operator

At the end of September 2020 there were about 31.8 million active mobile money subscriptions and 245,124 mobile money agents in the country.

"As was the case last quarter, the values transacted on mobile money platforms continued to increase with the adoption of cashless payments aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19," the report said.

*Graphs source: Communications Authority of Kenya

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Hot startup of the month: Rwanda's Smart Ikigega

This month's hot startup, Smart Ikigega, wants to revolutionize the rural agricultural trade ecosystem in Rwanda by helping farmers access finance and harvest insurance.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Innovation hub

Sponsored video

More videos

Flash poll

All polls

Latest video

More videos

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

Story

Challenges and opportunities for women's tech careers

A new survey reveals that COVID-19, the cost-of-living crisis, skills shortages and a lack of mentorship have negatively affected women's career development over the past two years.

Story

Survey: Opportunities for Women in Tech

Take our new survey for women across Asia, Europe and Africa looking at the biggest challenges and opportunities for women-led enterprises and trends in tech careers for women.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: July 2022

By Omdia Analysts

Kenya and Zambia move towards 5G with new spectrum allocations while Tunisie Telecom plans to shut down its 3G network - that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: June 2022

By Omdia Analysts

5G was the major news trend across Africa in June, as Orange became the first operator to launch 5G in Réunion and operators in Senegal accelerated their 5G plans despite spectrum delays.

More Guest Perspectives

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up