Number of mobile phone and mobile money subscribers declined in last quarter of 2023




The telecoms industry regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has released its latest stats, indicating that the country’s mobile phone and mobile money subscribers declined during the last quarter of 2023. The report, which covers the period between October and December 2023, shows that the number of mobile subscriptions dropped from 67.1 million reported during the last quarter to 66.7 million during the period under review, translating s drop of 400,000 subscribers.

According to the CA, the decline in the number of mobile phone subscribers during this period is attributable to the high churn vis-à-vis acquisitions and especially with regard to Telkom Kenya.

As a result of this drop in numbers, the country’s mobile penetration rate declined by 0.8 percentage points to record 131.9 percent.

And as a result and consequence of the fall in mobile phone subscribers,  mobile money subscriptions dropped to stand at 38.0 million, translating to a penetration rate of 75.1 percent as of December 30, 2023. The decline is attributed to the drop of number of mobile (SIM) subscriptions.

In terms of overall market shares of mobile money users, Safaricom leads the pack with 97.1 per cent of the user accounts, followed by Airtel Money with a paltry 2.9 per cent, while Telkom Kenya’s T-Kash is third with a negligible 0.0 per cent.

The total number of mobile phone devices stood at 65.45 million as of December 31, 2023, translating to a penetration rate of 129.4 per cent. Penetration rates for feature phones and smartphones stood at 62.9 per cent and 66.4 per cent respectively.

The report has been prepared in line with best practices proposed by ITU standards on collection of administrative and supply side data on telecoms and ICTs  and the the CA’s guiding manual. The manuals provide clarity on how the various indicators are defined, methodologies for data collection, scope of the indicators, and any limitations that may be related to the specific indicators.

The main objective of the report is to measure and monitor availability and accessibility of ICT services by Kenyans from the perspective of supply. It is key to note that this report does not include demand side data (data on usage or uptake of ICTs from the consumer perspective) as this information is collected through National ICT Surveys and reported separately as per the ITU standards. Therefore, the CA collaborates with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics
(KNBS) to collect the demand side data through National Surveys.

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