Kenyan Mobile phone Penetration is now over 63%..

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Kenya is a developing country, yes I know you know that but how fast are we doing that. In terms of the mobile phone subscriptions and internet use, our growth is amazing.   Kenya recorded 12 per cent mobile subscription from 22.3 million recorded in the previous quarter by CCK to 24.96 million Subscribers in the second quarter of 2010-11. We are talking here about the period starting in the beginning of October 2010 to the end of December 2010… That is the highest growth that has been recorded in four years according to CCK.

Source: CCK, operators compliance return forms

Looking at that in terms of Kenyan mobile phone penetration you get some interesting percentage. Kenyan population according to 2009 census was recorded at 38.6 million people. The population growth rate is estimated at 2.69% per annum.  From that time to end of December 2010 of course some people died, while others were born. Using the above figures, approximately the population of Kenya at the end of December 2010 was around 40 million. Back to the interesting part, 24.96 million mobile phone subscribers of a population of 40 million people. That is mobile phone penetration rate of 62.4 per cent.  That was my calculation but here is the official lines from CCK

As illustrated in figure 4, mobile penetration has been growing steadily over the quarters. At the end of the quarter being reported, the penetration of mobile service reached 63.2 per 100 inhabitants from 55.9 per 100 inhabitants in the last quarter

Source: CCK, operators compliance return forms

Figure 4 : Source:  CCK, operators compliance return forms

Think about it, majority of Kenyan population is made up of kids under 15 years old.  With that probably it is safe to say that every living Kenyan adult now has a mobile phone and the next growth is upto the kids. Before we get carried away, there is the issue of some people having at least two sim cards and I am not sure whether CCK took time to check the duplication aspect.

Winners and losers

In terms of market share the clear winners were OrangeKenya and Airtel Networks. Orange gained 4.5 percentage points of the market share while Airtel Network gained 1.7 percent.  The irony is while Airtel locked horns  with Safaricom fighting for the market share, the surprise winner in that was Orange Kenya.  Telkom Orange registered the highest number during the quarter under review with 972,928 new subscriptions followed by Airtel with 814,708

In the losing end Safaricom lost 6.0 percentage points of market share. Safaricom registered 736,777 new subscribers in its network between October and December 2010.  Essar Telcom aka Yu lost 0.3 percent as they added only 125,868 new subscribers to its network.

As it stand now Safaricom has 69.9 percent of market share, followed by Airtel 15.2 Percent while Orange Kenya has 8.5 percent. Last but as they say not least Yu has 6.4 percent market share.

Source: CCK, operators compliance return forms

Oooh and there is the dying breed called fixed lines. The fixed lines declined by 0.8 per cent from 228,391 to 226,587 lines in contrast to the fixed wireless which recorded a 8.9 per cent increase from 141,580 in the previous period to 154,161 during the period under review. By the way who still use fixed lines? Offices, but still when you look around you will realize that it is now acceptable to just list mobile phone as the official telephone line of the company. At the same time the talk of a company being a briefcase died sometime back with the coming of cloud computing. With mobile phone and internet people now build companies without having an office and even without knowing each other physically within the same company. Currently I am doing a number of projects with people living in different parts of the world and the progress on those projects is unbelievable.

A total of 7.45 billion minutes of local calls were made on the mobile networks against 6.63 billion in the previous quarter, representing 12.3 per cent increase. Traffic from other mobile networks to own networks increased significantly during the period under review from 405 million minutes in the previous quarter to 688 million minutes during the quarter under review. This is attributable to the declined off-net tariffs across the networks following the review of the interconnection rate  of 2010.  Waw..Kenyans are talking to each other.

But something happened to the love of smsing. The number of SMS recorded during the quarterwas 665 million text messages compared to 740 million text messages sent the previousquarter. It is the same time many people were talking about how it is expensive to send sms compared to actual calling. Since then Safaricom which was the subject of that discussion reviewed the cost of sending sms in their network, bringing it down to Ksh.1 from Ksh.2.5. When given a choice of call someone or sms at the same rates, people would prefer calling directly.  Unless ni mtu wa deni…..

Internet Use

The total number of internet subscriptions increased to 4.7 million by end of December 2010 from  3.2 million in the previous quarter, that ended in September 2010. The number of internet users was estimated at 10.2 million from 8.6 million users in the previous quarter.

This represents 18.6 percentage growth.  As always this is my favorite part although I am still at lost what Kenyans do online. Majority of them are facebooking, twittering and Googling but what else? That else part might be the most important part for Kenyan developers and entrepreneurs. Find out…

Bandwidth

The international internet connectivity bandwidth recorded marginal decline from 20,384.12Mbps in the previous quarter to 20,209.56Mbps during the quarter under review.  Talking of the bandwidth, last month we had a rude shock when KDN showed up to disconnect our offices internet connection because of over use. Too much uploading and downloading you know. We had to fight tooth and nail for them to return it with the promise of “we will not over upload and download again”.. smh.

Letters

Holy crap people are still sending letters. In the postal services, the number of total letters sent decreased to 31.2 million from 31.6 million representing 1.4 per cent decrease. The number is still in terms of millions waaaw. I just remembered the AGMs are called using letters..when will the emails be enough for this surely. And yeah my friends at HELP still look for defaulters using letters too.  Jokes aside Kenyan Post office should have transformed itself to local email sending client like Gmail and Yahoo mail. I remember my friend John Karanja of Whive.com once developed platform for sending emails which he cheekily called it  Postkenya.com. He presented it Posta but they rejected it without much consideration..call it living in stone age..

What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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