NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The number of mobile phone subscriptions in Kenya
rose 6.2 percent in the last quarter of 2018 to clock 49.5
million from 46.6 million, a new industry report showed on
This translated to a mobile penetration level
of 106.2 percent, according to the Communications Authority of
Kenya (CA) report, which attributed the situation to multiple
SIM card ownership.
"The penetration level of more than 100 percent is due to the
multiple SIM cards ownership in the country," said CA.
A report published by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics
(KNBS) last year indicated that at least 30 percent of Kenyans
owned more than one SIM card.
During the period, there were over 2.9 million net additions
in mobile subscription, with the authority attributing the
substantial increase to the three telecommunication firms’
Mobile money subscriptions and agents rose to 31.6 million
and 223,931 respectively during the October to December quarter,
said the report.
"A total of 787.8 million transactions (person-to-person and
withdrawals), valued at 2.1 trillion shillings (21 billion U.S.
dollars) were made in the quarter," said CA.
There were 586.9 million mobile commerce transactions
registered in the three months, valued at 18 billion dollars
while the value of person-to-person transfers amounted to 7.3
During the quarter, the total voice traffic stood at 14.7
billion minutes, up from 14.4 billion minutes as Kenyans spend
more time talking on phone.
Kenya’s telecom firm, Safaricom recorded the largest share of
mobile voice traffic at 9.5 billion minutes from 8.9 billion
reported in the previous quarter.
The other minutes were shared by Telkom, Airtel, Finserve and
The number of SMS sent during the period ending December 2018
rose by 17.6 percent to stand at 18.1 billion from 15.4 billion
recorded during the period ending September 2018.
"The increase is attributed to the busy festive season and
the national examination period during which friends and
relatives exchanged messages of goodwill," said the CA.
Like the other sectors, Kenya’s internet market remained
vibrant during the period under review.
As of Dec. 3, 2018, the total number of active data and
internet subscriptions stood at 45.7 million, of which 45.3
million accessed internet via their mobile phones.
"Demand for data services in Kenya is driven by increased
need to access government services online, e-commerce services
and enhanced interest in social media platforms and high
definition video streaming," noted CA.
There was an increase in the number of cyber threats targeted
at Kenya’s cyberspace, with over 10.2 million threats detected
during the quarter as compared to 3.8 million in the previous
The regulator observed that the Kenyan mobile market has
experienced significant growth over the years, but it is yet to
reach its saturation point.
Bernard Mwaso of Edell IT Solutions in Nairobi pointed out
that Kenya’s mobile industry is soaring at a faster rate due to
inter-linkages of various services.
"The fact that people can buy airtime, pay for various
services or buy goods and buy internet data via mobile money
means the segments support the other.
"This is what is driving the growth of the sector in Kenya,
from subscriptions to usage," he said.