Samsung outpaces Nokia in Kenya market
Asian handset makers Samsung and Huawei have expanded their shares of the mobile data market in Kenya as that of European firms such as Nokia and Alcatel shrink, a new survey shows.
A study by InMobi, a mobile advertising network, shows that the number of Kenyans accessing the Internet using Samsung phones in the second quarter of this year grew by 2.1 percentage points to 22 per cent even as Nokia posted a 1.8 percentage point decline to 57 per cent.
The research analysed a total of 2.13 billion advertisements requested from mobile websites and apps within the InMobi network in Kenya.
It covers the period between April and June this year and seeks to establish the operating systems and type of handsets accessing the Internet.
The total number of Internet users in Kenya grew by 4.7 per cent to 11.8 million as at the end of March this year.
Data from the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) shows that 98.8 per cent of the total Internet and data subscriptions are from mobile Internet data sub-market. The report shows that the onslaught by South Korean firms Samsung and LG as well as Chinese phone maker Huawei for Kenya’s mobile Internet has eaten into the share of European makers Nokia, Alcatel and Sony.
The Asian mobile phone companies are engaged in price wars and are aggressively marketing their products in Kenya, focusing on the low-end smartphone category and the youth.
Samsung, LG and Huawei smartphones all use the Android operating system which offers an apps store and integrates other Google tools such as navigation maps and optimised web browsing.
“The smartphone market, in particular, will continue to be profitable as consumers are given a wider choice of new products at a wider range of prices,” said Robert Ngeru, Samsung Electronics East Africa business leader.
For example, Samsung has been promoting its low-end smartphones in the Galaxy range such as the Pocket and Mini, which cost Sh9,999 and Sh12,999 respectively.
Chinese cellphone manufacturer Huawei has partnered with telecoms service provider Safaricom to sell its flagship smartphone Ideos Ascend, for Sh8,499.
This has forced Nokia, which currently holds pole position with 57 per cent of the mobile data market in Kenya, to introduce the Asha range of entry-level smartphones which retail within a similar price bracket, to maintain its lead.
Nokia uses its own system for the Asha range and Windows for its high- end smartphones.
“The new series offers freedom of choice in design, colour, form factor, feature and price point, as well as access to seamless social networking and thousands of apps,” said Bruce Howe, the general manager at Nokia East Africa.
In terms of handset make, 89.4 per cent of Kenyans access the web through feature phones (basic), while the share of smartphones increased marginally to 10.4 per cent. A paltry 0.2 per cent browse the web through tablets and other connected devices.
“While feature phones continue to dominate, their market share is feeling the impact of the growing smartphone market,” said the InMobi report.