Safaricom records 35% rise in mobile data usage as Kenyans observe stay-at-home order

Safaricom’s internet consumption has grown by 70 per cent as Kenyans adhere to the call by the government to stay at home as one of the measures to check the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mobile data usage has also risen by 35 per cent as customers tap into the internet to work from home, study at home and access social media and entertainment sites, said Peter Ndegwa, the Safaricom CEO.

“Our support to the Government’s directive for people to work from home by doubling bandwidth – which effectively means customers are accessing high-speed internet connectivity at half the normal price – has seen a double digit growth in data volumes, demonstrating that more Kenyans are indeed studying, working and connecting with their loved ones from home,” said Ndegwa.

The data shows that traffic on movie-streaming channel Netflix has grown fourfold, from 15Gbps to 60 Gbps. Gigabits per second (Gbps) represents one billion bits running through the system in a second. For Netflix, this is the equivalent of 20,000 movies streaming at the same second.

The other most visited site is Facebook which customers use for various purposes including work and social networking.

So far, Safaricom has laid out more than 6,700 kilometeres of fiber reaching more than 300,000 homes. Additionally, mobile Internet is distributed through 5,300 base stations spread across the country delivering 3G and 4G mobile network to 87% of the population. The rest of the population accesses the network on 2G.

“The investment in improving, extending and modernizing the network over the years is paying off and we are able to carry the traffic and ensure that Kenyans remain connected through this period and beyond,” said Ndegwa.  “We have been able to deliver a quality experience on the fixed internet bandwidth in order to facilitate individuals to work from home. Learners are also enjoying free access to educational content on mobile internet whereas university students get concessional rates to facilitate continuous virtual learning in collaboration with learning institutions.”

This complex and fast network is kept running by engineers, technicians and programmers who work around the clock to operate, maintain and upgrade it. Safaricom has also invested more than Kshs 300 billion in its infrastructure over the last 10 years.


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