Mobile phone service subscriptions grew by 13.2 per cent within a year to the highest-ever penetration level as at the end of June, fresh regulatory data shows.
Penetration of mobile phones reached 98 per cent at the end of June, up from 89 per cent during the same month last year, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) statistics.
In the three months to the end of June, mobile service penetration increased by three percentage points showing that the expansion in subscriptions was getting close to the population number that was estimated at 46.6 million at the end of last year, but also showing that many users owned more than one line.
At the end of March this year, subscription stood at 44.1 million or 95.1 per cent of the population.
“As at June 30, 2018, the number of mobile service subscriptions in the country stood at 45.5 million up from 44.1 million reported in March 2018. This also marked an increase of 13.2 per cent when compared to the 40.2 million subscriptions recorded as at June 330, 2017,” said the CA in its latest update. “This has resulted to increased mobile penetration of 97.8 per cent during the subject quarter from 95.1 per cent reported in the preceding quarter.”
The regulator said that an extra 1.4 million new mobile subscriptions were registered during the quarter to June compared to 1.3 million new lines sold in the previous quarter.
In percentage terms, Safaricom’s market share fell by 1.6 percentage points while both Airtel and Telkom Kenya gained 1.7 and 0.2 percentage points. “During the quarter under review... Finserve Africa lost by 0.1 percentage points whereas the market shares for Sema Mobile and Mobile Pay Ltd remained unchanged,” said the CA.
Out of the 45.5 million subscriptions, 44.3 million were prepaid while the rest were postpaid.
The ratio of prepaid subscriptions remained dominant at 97.4 per cent largely because of the convenience and ease of registration compared to the postpaid that had more stringent requirements.
“The ratio of pre-paid subscriptions remained dominant at 97.4 per cent and this is attributed to the ease and convenience of subscription as compared to post-paid subscription which has mandatory requirements which may pose a great challenge for most users,” said the regulator.
“Pre-paid service also offers a variety of tariffs and low denomination calling cards as low as Sh5 which convenient and affordable for low income subscribers,” the CA added.