Kenya’s mobile money transfer subscriptions decrease despite rise in agency outlets

The number of mobile money transfer subscribers in Kenya reduced in the period between October and December 2015 in spite the increase in the number of mobile money agency outlets according to latest industry stats by the regulator.

According to the latest figures released by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CA), the number of mobile money transfer subscriptions dropped by 3.6 per cent to register 26.7 million subscriptions down from 27.7 million subscriptions registered during the previous period. On the other hand, the number of mobile money agents grew from 135,724 agents recorded during the last quarter to 141,542 agents during the quarter under review.

The volume of transactions (deposits and withdrawals) on this platform was registered at 122.3 million with Kshs 290.6 billion transferred among users during the period. Mobile commerce recorded a total of 54.3 million transactions with Kshs 102. 4 billion was used to pay for goods and services. The person-to-person transfers stood at Kshs 139.7 billion as at the end of the quarter under review.

However, the CA does not any reason(s) for the drop in the number of mobile money subscriptions.


In terms of agency outlets, Safaricom (M-Pesa) leads with 96,155 followed by Orange (Orange Money) with 16,734 agents. Third is MobiKash with 16,523 agents then Airtel Kenya (Airtel Money) with 10,534. Tangaza has less than 2,000 agents while the number of Equitel agents were not recorded in the report.

When it comes to value of transactions, Safaricom still leads with Kshs 267 billion followed by Equitel with Kshs 17.97 billion. Third is Airtel Money with Kshs 4.3 billion while MobiKash handled around Kshs 1.2 billion in its platform. Surprisingly, Orange – which has the second highest number of agency outlets – only handled Kshs 65.2 million within its Orange Money platform during the quarter under review.

Overall, the report states that mobile telephony sub-sector experienced a marginal drop in the number of mobile subscriptions during the quarter under review to post 37.7 million subscriptions down from 37.8 million recorded last quarter. Consequently, mobile penetration dropped by 0.4 percentage points to stand at 87.7 percent down from 88.1 percent recorded during the previous quarter.

Pre-paid mobile subscriptions were recorded at 36.7 million down from 36.8 million subscriptions recorded during the previous quarter whereas Post-paid subscriptions were recorded at 1.0 million up from 989,889 subscriptions registered last quarter.

The volume of local mobile traffic declined by 5.6 per cent to post 10.2 billion minutes down from 10.8 billion minutes posted during the previous quarter. This decrease in traffic is attributed to the reduction in mobile subscriptions recorded during the period under review. On net traffic recorded 8.9 million minutes during the quarter down from 9.6 million minutes recorded in the previous quarter, representing a decline of 6.9 per cent. Similarly, each subscriber talked for an average of 88.9 minutes per month during the quarter down from 95.8 minutes recorded during the previous quarter.

The volume of local SMS sent during the quarter stood at 8.1 billion up from 7.0 billion recorded during the previous quarter representing growth of 15.3 per cent during the quarter. Each subscriber sent an average of 71.8 messages per month up from 61 messages recorded in the last quarter. The increase is attributed to the festive season where friends, families and loved ones exchanged well wishes and seasonal greetings.

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