Safaricom has the bulk of Kenya’s internet users

Majority of Kenya’s over 14 million internet users access the service using Safaricom’s network according to new sector statistics released by the telecoms industry regulator Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK).

The latest figures, contained in the CCK’s quarterly sector statistics report for July/September 2011/2012 published in November 2011, indicate that overall, majority of internet users access the service from mobile network operators, who account for 89.9 per cent of the total subscriptions.

Safaricom had the bulk of the subscriptions with about 4.3 million internet subscribers by September 2011, translating to 79.5 per cent of the total market share. The network, which is the mobile industry’s market leader in terms of overall market share with 17.95 million subscribers, had 3.6 million internet subscribers in June 2011, which accounted for 84.2 per cent of the market share.

Airtel Kenya came in second with 460,221 internet subscribers (8.5 per cent market share); Telkom Orange was third with 106,290 subscribers (1.96 per cent market share) with Telkom fixed coming in fourth place with 10,088 subscribers, accounting for about 0.2 per cent of the market share.

Other players having a notable portion of the internet subscribers include Kenya Data Networks (KDN); Access Kenya; Wananchi Telkom; Swift Global; iWay Africa and Internet Solutions (IS).

There were 5.4 million internet subscriptions from 4.2 million recorded previously, indicating an increase of 27.33 per cent. Satellite subscriptions declined from 960 in the previous period to 774 during the quarter under review while mobile internet subscriptions – on GPRS/EDGE and 3G – increased to 5.3 million from 4.1 million, representing an increase of 28.3 per cent.

Worth noting is that the number of mobile internet subscriptions represented 99 per cent of the total subscriptions, a further indication that the mobile handset has become a popular mode of accessing the internet for majority of the people.

The report notes that as of September 2011, 36.3 per cent of Kenya’s 40 million people had access to internet from 31.8 per cent recorded in the previous quarter, translating to an increase of 4.5 per cent.

The report notes that “mobile data or internet is poised to transform the internet market in the country,” stating that “with the number of mobile data or internet subscriptions rising steadily over the period, this trend is likely to continue as operators leverage on emerging technologies to bring new offerings to the market to meet user demands.”

“Consequently, intense competition is likely to continue as operators seek to diversify their services in an effort to grow their revenue margins. The period under review witnessed 75 per cent of the total users accessing the service through their mobile handsets, leaving computer and other modes of access with only 25 per cent,” states the report, adding that computer connectivity which includes bandwidth costs “could be considered expensive compared to mobile connectivity which is easier and faster.”

The report states that the total number of subscriptions rose to 5.42 million during the period under review up from 4.25 million recorded during the previous period, representing an increase of 27.33 per cent during the period. The estimated number of internet users reached 14.30 million up from 12.53 million recorded during the previous period, representing an increase of 14 per cent.

Broadband subscriptions increased by 4.5 per to stand at 126,589  up from 121,126 previously while total broadband subscriptions represented 2.33 per cent of the country’s total internet subscriptions.

In the three-month period under review – July-Sep 2011/12 – CCK notes that the industry “witnessed an upsurge in the number of mobile subscribers from 25.22 million to 26.49 million, representing an increase of 4.8 per cent.”