Voice still the main revenue stream for MNOs in Kenya, followed by data

Subscribers may be adopting the use of over-the-top platforms (like Whatsapp) for calls but traditional voice calls via mobile phones still remain the dominant avenue for revenue generation for the country’s operators. As per the latest industry stats – for the period between April and June 2023 – from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), Voice currently accounts for 30.8 percent of the operators’ revenues followed by Data at 26 percent.

After Data services, the third leading revenue stream for operators is an amorphous category called ‘Other Mobile Services’ (which includes mobile money, Roaming Revenues, Bulk SMS, and “advance airtime” also called Okoa Jahazi or Kopa Kredo depending on the operator) which accounts for 38.4 percent of the overall revenues. The fourth and last category when it comes to revenue contributions to operators’ bottomline is SMS with 4.8 percent.

Overall, Safaricom recorded the highest revenue shares in Voice, Data, SMS and other revenues (mobile money, roaming, advance airtime) with 98 percent followed by Airtel Kenya at 1.1 percent. In third place in terms of overall revenues was Telkom Kenya at 0.9 percent. Jamii Telecoms recorded the least share.

In 2022, mobile services generated Kshs 339.4 billion in revenue, an increase of 7.7 percent compared to the Kshs 315.0 billion recorded in 2021. At the same time, there was increased investment in the mobile sub-sector of 14.0 percent which led to a figure of Kshs 58.8 billion in terms of overall investment in the sub-sector in 2022.

In terms of direct employment in the sub-sector, the country’s five operators currently have a staff count of 10,526 with a male-to-female ratio of 57:43. The same gender parity was achieved by the industry in June 2020 and almost attained again in June 2021.

According to the CA’s latest industry statistics, the country’s active mobile (SIM) subscriptions grew by 0.6 percent to stand at 66.4 million as at 30 June 2023, from 66.1 million recorded during the previous quarter. This translates to a mobile (SIM) penetration rate of 131.3 percent with the slow growth in mobile subscriptions during the quarter being attributed to the SIM registration exercise that kicked-off in February 2022 with a deadline of October 2022, resulting in the deactivation of unregistered SIM cards.


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