Safaricom has fastest mobile network in Kenya – Ookla

By David Indeje / October 9, 2017


Safaricom Ltd (NSE: SCOM) has been ranked as the fastest mobile network compared to its competitors in the telecommunication sector.

“Safaricom achieved a Speed Score of 19.80 providing faster average speeds to their users than the other major providers in Kenya with average download speeds of 21.25 Mbps and average upload speeds of 9.67 Mbps on LTE-capable devices,” according to the latest Q2-Q3 2017 from Ookla, the company behind the widely used Speedtest app.

Orange came second with average download speeds of 15.93 Mbps and average upload speeds of 7.83 Mbps and Airtel 9.29 Mbps and 2.55 Mbps respectively.

According to Safaricom Annual report and financial statements 2017, the telco has 28 million customers translating to 71.9 percent market share. 25 percent are on 4G, 85 percent 3G, 95 percent 2G translating to 77 percent brand power score.

“To maintain an edge in our business, we invested Ksh 38 billion on improving network coverage, capacity and quality of our network. This included Ksh 2.5 billion to acquire 10Mhz of LTE spectrum and the record rollout of more than 500 new sites,”  Sateesh Kamath, Chief Finance Officer.

In June this year, Telkom Kenya rebranded with sh 25 Billion investment network and infrastructure expansion as it launched its 4G/LTE network across 29 towns in Kenya.

“Our aim is to provide the highest quality network with the most competitive data bundles to power a moving Kenyan,” noted Aldo Mareuse, Telkom Kenya Chief Executive Officer.

 Airtel since January has continued expansion of its network coverage to ensure consistent delivery of quality and value for money services to its customers.


The latest data from the Communications Authority (CA) Telecommunications Sector statistics for the fourth quarter of the financial year 2016/17, internet subscriptions recorded a 10.5 percent growth to 29.6 mn subscribers from 26.8 mn registered in Q4’2016.

The growth was driven by a 15.3 percent  increase in mobile data subscriptions to 29.4 mn at the end of the quarter, which accounted for approximately 99.0 percent of the total subscriptions.

The increase of mobile data subscriptions could be attributed to a sustained decline in the price of smartphones costs as well the widespread availability of the handsets. Internet penetration increased by 4.0 percent points to 64.8 percent  from 60.8 percent recorded in Q4’2016.

The number of internet broadband subscriptions increased by 42.6 percent to 15.4 mn from 10.8 mn recorded in Q4’2016.

On a quarterly basis, the internet broadband subscriptions grew by 12.4 percent  from 13.7 mn recorded previous quarter; this is attributed to the affordability of smartphones in the country as well as affordable internet bundles offered by various internet service operators.

The broadband penetration closed at 34.2 percent, up from 24.6 percent recorded in Q4’2016.  – internet broadband subscriptions include those subscriptions to homes and offices, while internet subscriptions refer to those offered by mobile operators.


Read Quest for numbers, Data becomes Kenya Telco’s key revenue stream

To determine the results, Ookla compared user-initiated tests taken on the Speedtest iOS and Android mobile apps from all the major mobile carriers in Kenya over the award period to determine who was the fastest.

The Speedtest Awards for top providers in speed are determined using a Speed Score that incorporates a measure of each provider’s download and upload speed to rank network speed performance (90 percent of the final Speed Score is attributed to download speed and the remaining 10 percent to upload speed).

“The Speed Score uses a modified trimean to demonstrate the download and upload speeds that are available across a provider’s network. We take speeds from the 10th percentile, 50th percentile (also known as the median), and 90th percentile, and combine them in a weighted average using a 1:2:1 ratio, respectively. We place the most emphasis on the download speeds and median speeds as those represent what most network providers’ customers will experience on a day-to-day basis,” according to  Ookla.



About David Indeje

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 or Email: [email protected]

View other posts by David Indeje