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Kenyan mobile phone users subscriptions soar to 38.9 million

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The number of Kenya’s mobile subscriptions grew 1.0 percent to 38.9 million in the second quarter of financial year 2016/2017 (October-December 2016) from 38.5 million registered during the previous quarter, the industry regulator said on Monday.

Statistics from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) said mobile penetration level recorded a growth of 0.9 percentage points to stand at 88.2 percent during the quarter, up from 87.3 percent posted during the previous quarter.

“The quarter under review registered an increase of 385,260 new mobile subscriptions compared to a decline of 1.1 million subscriptions recorded in the previous quarter,” CA said in its latest report.

According to CA, the total number of mobile money subscriptions was recorded at 31.9 million while mobile money agents were recorded at 161,583 during the quarter under review.

The volume of transactions (deposits and withdrawals) made was recorded at 456.6 million Kenya shillings (about 4.5 million U.S. dollars).

Meanwhile, the number of Internet users has increased significantly in the three months to December, driven by affordable smartphones and data bundles.

The report indicates that the number of estimated Internet users recorded a growth of 5.2 percent to stand at 39.6 million compared to 37.7 million users recorded during the preceding quarter.

Internet penetration stood at 89.8 percent, up from 85.3 percent during the previous quarter.

Internet users in the country access data either through terrestrial wireless, fixed cable modem or fixed fibre optic, all segments that registered growth during the quarter under review. Only the satellite segment did not record growth.

The number of broadband subscriptions continued its upward trend, recording 12.7 million subscriptions during the quarter under review, which marked a broadband penetration level of 28.7 percent.

“Among those who accessed Internet; mobile data subscriptions continued to account for the highest stake posting 26.7 million subscriptions during the quarter under review, which represented 99 percent of the subscriptions,” CA said.

“This could be attributed to the affordability of smartphones in the country as well as affordable data/internet bundles offered by various Internet service operators,” the report says.

The report also notes that the uptake of smartphones by consumers that offer access to various mobile phone applications which include: social media, search engines, email and video chat, which are very popular applications, has seen increase in the use of internet/data services.

“As technologies develop and become popular, new uses and consumer behaviours emerge. It is expected that the introduction of new generation of network and device technologies will lead to further changes in usage.”



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