The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) says the telecommunications industry is now a critical element in the country’s economy, attributed to growth in mobile payments and data. According to CA’s sector statistics report for three months to March, the value of payments for goods and services made on mobile money platforms hit Ksh 627.4 billion, placing mobile payments comfortably ahead of cash and card payments, which totaled Ksh 471.1 billion during the period.
Mobile commerce transactions during Q1 2017 stood at 290.5 million, and the number of active mobile money transfer agents registered climbed from 161,583 in Q4 2016 to 174,018 in the recent quarter.
According to the report, the growth in online shopping could fuel the volume of parcels sent in the near future and the relative ease of shopping online will open up opportunities to buy and sell from people and companies in other countries.
“The telecoms sub sector continues to be a critical element of the economy, laying the groundwork for greater investment in mobile money and as well as for ICT infrastructure growth,” read part of the sector report.
However, the industry witnessed a rise in the number of mobile subscriptions while the volume of voice and SMS traffic declined when compared to the previous quarter. According to CA, The number of mobile subscriptions stood at 39.1 million up from 38.9 million reported during the previous quarter translating to an increase of 0.5 per cent.
Mobile penetration dropped by 2.0 percentage points to stand at 86.2 per cent during the period from 88.2 per cent in the last quarter.
“This is attributed to the review of the country’s population to 45.4 million up from 44.2 million as per the Economic Survey 2017,” read the report.
The volume of local Short Messaging Service (SMS) registered during the quarter stood at 12.8 billion messages down from last quarter’s 15.2 billion messages sent representing a drop of 18.8 per cent.
“The significant decline in local SMS is attributed to the end of the busy festive season during which service providers had launched numerous special offers and promotions,” read the report. Data/Internet subscriptions during the quarter under review declined by 3.6 per cent to stand at 25.7 million subscriptions from 26.6 million subscriptions posted in the preceding quarter.
On the other hand, when compared to the same period – in the previous year, the number of data subscriptions grew by 3.4 per cent. On the contrary, there was a nominal growth on the estimated Internet users of 2.3 per cent to stand at 40.5 million from 39.6 million users reported at the end of the previous period. This translated to an estimated Internet/data penetration level of 89.4 per during the quarter under review.
During the period under review, the number of broadband subscriptions increased substantially by 7.9 per cent to reach 13.7 million subscriptions from 12.7 million subscriptions registered in the previous quarter. Subsequently, broadband penetration level was recorded at 30.3 per cent during the quarter under review up from 28.7 per cent posted in the previous quarter.
David Indeje is a writer and editor, with interests on how technology is changing journalism, government and society. He has been practicing Journalism since 2008. Environment, Agriculture Business, Health and Gender Development stories are his passion.David can be reached on: (020) 528 0222
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