Internet surfing on mobile phone thriving in Kenya


The Education minister had said those who wished to know their KCPE results could send a text message to 2228 but according to parents, the process returned nil results. Photo/FILE

Kenya is among the top five countries in Africa where Internet surfing on the mobile phone is thriving.

Among the 12 African countries where the technology called mobile Web is used, Kenya lies in fourth position, according to a new report by Opera, a software company with headquarters in Oslo.

South Africa leads the pack followed by Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Zambia, Tanzania, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Namibia, Ghana and Gabon.

Opera developed the cross-platform Web browser technology known as Opera, which is nown for performance, standards compliance and small size, while giving users a faster, safer, and more dynamic online experience.

Unique users
The company has two mobile products, Opera Mini and Opera Mobile, the standard for mobile Web browsing on both feature phones and smartphones.

According to the report, from April 2008 to April 2009 overall page-views in the top 12 countries listed increased 422 per cent.

Overall unique users in the top 12 countries listed increased 169 per cent, and overall data transferred in the top 12 countries listed increased 348 per cent.

Since the report’s last highlight of the continent in 2008, Nigeria has jumped from fourth to second position and Zambia from ninth to sixth.
Mozambique, Namibia, Ghana and Gabon are, however, new on the list.

The report shows that growth rates continue to soar in Africa especially in Libya, with 4,155 per cent user growth since April 2008, and Nigeria, with 2,353 per cent user growth.

Kenya leads the top 12 countries in page views, with each user browsing 372 pages on average each month, it said.

More mobile subscribers can now access internet through their phones mainly due to the drive by all the telecommunication providers who are now offering bundled services that include data.

The other factor is availability of internet enabled handsets, with some manufactures coming up with handsets both at the top end and at the entry level phones.

Another study by Tariff Consultancy Ltd indicates that Kenya shows impressive growth rates.

By the end of 2008, Kenya had more than 15 million mobile subscribers, with a mobile penetration rate of 39 per cent and a subscriber base forecast of 29.28 million, or 66.7 per cent penetration, by end of 2013.

Zero-rate handsets
The forecasts unveiled that total revenue of Kenya’s telecom market will grow by 42 per cent, from $1.39 billion in 2008 to $1.98 billion by 2013.

Among these, 78 per cent of the total revenue will be generated by the mobile sector.

In Kenya, revenue from data forms less than five per cent for the two leading mobile operators, however, both have intensified their investment in the area.
Internet penetration is expected to increase due to the fact that majority of subscribers can now access it through their mobile phones.

To enable more people own handsets, two handset manufactures Nokia and LG are lobbying the government to zero rate taxes on handsets as is the case with computers.