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Kenya telcos register drop in SMS numbers

MOBILE-PHONENAIROBI, Kenya, July 29 – The number of Short Messaging Services (SMSs) sent between January to March this year declined to 6.22 billion from 6.28 billion messages sent during the preceding quarter.

This is according to the latest Quarter 3 Statistic Report by the Communication Authority of Kenya which shows that each subscriber sent out an average of 65.1 messages per month.

“The previous quarters had recorded an upward trend in SMS volumes despite the popularity in the use of Over-The-Top (OTT) messaging services such as WhatsApp and therefore it might be too early to predict if the decline was contributed by OTT,”

Safaricom recorded the largest share of 96.4 percent resulting from an increase of 0.6 percentage points during the quarter.

Airtel’s share declined by 0.5 percent to 2.7 per cent shares from 3.2 percent recorded during the previous quarter.

Similarly, Essar lost 0.2 percentage points to reach 0.4 percent share from 0.6 percent share during the previous quarter. Telkom Kenya (Orange) share remained unchanged at 0.4 percent.

As has been the trend, mobile telephony experienced a marginal increase in the number of mobile subscriptions during the quarter to post 31.8 million subscriptions up from 31.3 million recorded during the last quarter representing growth of 1.7 percent during the period.

Prepaid subscriptions increased by 1.5 percent during the quarter to stand at 31.2 million subscriptions up from 30.7 million during the previous quarter.

Post-paid subscriptions have continued to record an upward trend with the quarter under review registering growth of 8.4 per cent to reach 607,569 up from 560,503 subscriptions posted during the previous quarter.

“Mobile penetration grew by 1.3 percentage points during the quarter to stand at 78.2 per cent,” the report stated.

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Despite the growth in mobile subscriptions, there was a recorded decline in local mobile voice traffic of 2.7 percent to post 7.6 billion minutes down from 7.8 billion minutes recorded during the previous quarter.

Moreover subscriber average minutes of use was recorded at 80.3 minutes per month compared to 84.1 minutes registered in the last quarter.

Meanwhile Mobile money transfer demonstrated an upward trend of 0.9 percent to record 26.2 million subscriptions from 26 million posted in the previous quarter. Similarly, the number of money transfer agents increased by 10.6 percent to stand at 103,660 agents.

In the Internet/data market segment, the number of subscriptions grew by 1.3 percent to reach 13.3 million subscriptions up from 13.1 million during the last quarter.

Internet/data market mobile subscriptions rose by 1.3 per cent and continued to be the biggest contributor to the service representing 99 per cent of the subscriptions.

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