The number of fixed fibre optic subscriptions in Kenya doubled in the year to June 2017 driven by intense competition for customers by telecommunication firms.
Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) data shows that there were 54,700 fixed fibre optic subscriptions in June 2017, compared to 27,571 such connections recorded during a similar period in 2016.
There was also over 100 per cent increase in satellite and terrestrial data wireless subscriptions in the period. Mobile data subscriptions, the most common way for Kenyans to connect to the web, grew 9.9 per cent to 29.42 million.
“The increase of mobile data subscriptions could be attributed to continued fall in the price of smartphones,” says the CA in its 2016/17 annual report.
Overall, there were 29.6 million Internet subscriptions at the end of June up from 26.9 million subscriptions in 2016.
The country’s Internet penetration now stands at 64.8 per cent. The fibre segment of the data business has seen increased investment from service providers over the past few years.
Safaricom #ticker:SCOM, Kenya’s largest telco, says that it laid fibre cables that are within reach of over 83,000 homes. Fibre veteran Jamii Telecom has increased five-fold the speeds it offers business and home customers, without raising prices.
Liquid Telecom recently re-entered the retail space, and is counting on its Hai fibre brand to take it to Kenyan homes. Liquid says it has connected at least 3,000 homes to fibre.
Improved connectivity is opening the door for providers of over-the-top services such as video streaming. Netflix and Amazon Prime have both targeted the Kenyan middle class.
Naspers, which owns the Multichoice brand, has also gone for this segment of the market with its ShowMax product.