Kenyan mobile voice traffic down, SMS use up

Kenyan mobile voice traffic down, SMS use up

CC image courtesy of CCK Kenya on Flickr

The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) released the ICT Sector Quarterly Statistical Report for the fourth quarter of the financial year 2012/13 yesterday (Wednesday), providing an overview of performance and development trends in the country’s ICT sector.

According to the report, the level of mobile penetration in the country registered increased to 77.3 percent (30.5 million subscriptions), up from the previous quarter which recorded a penetration of 75.6 per cent (29.8 million subscriptions).

CCK attributes the growth in mobile penetration to a combination of new subscribers and possible re-subscription by mobile subscribers switched off during the subscriber registration campaign in the preceding quarter.

“Owing to ease of access, the pre-paid services have continued to dominate mobile subscription, accounting for 99.0 per cent of the total mobile subscriptions during the quarter,” said the report

Total local mobile traffic declined, recording a total of 7.1 billion minutes compared to 7.18 billion in the previous quarter.

“The decline in mobile voice traffic could be due to availability of other more affordable communication alternatives such as SMS and other mobile applications such as WhatsApp that have continued to gain popularity and hence affecting growth in local mobile traffic.”

Conversely, the total number of SMS messages sent stood at 4.3 billion up from four billion posted in the preceding quarter, averaging 47 SMSs per subscriber, per month.

The report also said the overall mobile voice traffic per subscriber dropped from 81.1 minutes recorded in the previous quarter to 78.4 minutes.

Mobile money transfer subscriptions also increased from 23.2 million in the previous quarter to 24.8 million in the quarter under review, recording a 6.8 per cent growth, consistent with the positive subscriber growth patterns.

Similarly, the number of mobile money transfer agents grew significantly to record 88,466 agents during the quarter, up from 74,216 registered during the previous quarter, representing a growth of 19.2 per cent.

“The expansion of the agency network can be attributed to the continued uptake and popularity of the service as well as operators’ initiatives towards enhancing accessibility to financial services and increasing financial inclusion to the unbanked,” the CCK said.

The report also showed the fixed line market continued to drop, by reducing  2.2 per cent to  216,469 fixed line subscribers down from 221,287 posted in the previous quarter.

“The drop in fixed lines was mainly attributed to the 5.2 per cent decrease in fixed terrestrial

lines during the quarter under review from 59,851 in the preceding period to 56,724 lines.” said the report.

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