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Kenya has 19.4m mobile phone users

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 16 – The number of Kenyan mobile phone users went up by 19.3 percent to 19.4 million subscribers by the end of 2009.

According to statistics released by the Communications Commission of Kenya, the growth is attributed to the continued increase of prepaid subscribers whose proportion of total figures reached 99 percent.

Of the 19.4 million subscribers, 186,374 of them were on post-paid services while.

“This trend can be explained by, among other factors, the reduction in the cost of mobile handsets as well as the low value of prepaid calling cards,” the regulator said in a statement.

The penetration rate of mobile phone usage rose to 49.7 per 100 inhabitants from 43.64 per 100 inhabitants recorded in 2008. The global average is 49.8 users per 100 inhabitants.

Over the period, mobile tariffs declined as a result of stiff competition amongst the four mobile operators who have been offering incentives as a way of acquiring subscribers as well as solidifying their market base.

During the quarter in review, charges within the same network were recorded at an average of Sh5.66 per minute compared to Sh6.33 per minute in the last quarter.

Fierce competition amongst the country’s four mobile operators saw total revenues earned grow by 16 percent to Sh84.2 billion.

However, the average revenue from every user fell to Sh362.20 from Sh376.56.

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Investments by mobile operators increased by 19.5 percent as they upgraded their systems and roll out into the underserved areas.

With the Internet infrastructure laid, mobile data subscribers shot up by over 400 percent to 1.98 million users from 398,190 a year ago.

CCK said the number of fixed lines declined by 1.5 percent from the previous year to 243,656 users.

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