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Kenya mobile phone subscribers hit 19m

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 24 – Kenya’s mobile phone penetration is up to the 51 percent mark in the first quarter of 2010 with mobile subscriptions up 2.7 percent to 19.9 million from 19.4 million in the previous quarter.

Industry statistics from the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) show that at the end of March this year, the population under mobile coverage stood at 86 percent, against a land coverage of 35 percent.

The regulator attributes the increase in the number of mobile subscriptions to multiple SIM ownership and increased number of service providers offering attractive promotions.

The number of prepaid subscriptions grew during the quarter under review by 2.6 percent compared to 7.2 percent growth in the number of post paid subscriptions.

“This is consistent with the trends in developing countries where prepaid service is preferred due to the ease and convenience of subscription compared to postpaid which has requirements that are not within the reach of the majority of the population,” the regulator said in a statement.

During the quarter, tariffs fell as a result of a more competitive landscape with operators jostling to acquire and retain subscribers by offering incentives. Charges within the same network were recorded at Sh5 per minute compared to Sh5.66 per minute in the last quarter.

During the quarter, tariffs fell which led to people making longer calls by 20 percent to 5.1 million minutes.

There was also a 33.5 percent increase in Internet subscribers standing at 2.7 million users, which CCK attributes to innovative offerings such as connectivity to social networking sites through mobile phones. Ninety nine percent of internet subscriptions between January and March this year was through mobile phones, CCK said.

“The increase in the number of internet subscribers is accelerated by the provision of data services through GPRS/EDGE and 3G networks of mobile operators,” CCK said.

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