NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23- The number of SMSs sent locally between the months of January to March this year have decreased by 19.7 percent compared to the previous quarter ending December 2015.
The messages which dropped to 6.5 billion during the quarter this year from 8.1 billion have been affected by the increasing use of WhatsApp and other mobile messaging services.
“The significant drop of SMS traffic could be attributed to the popular use of Over-The-Top (OTT) services like WhatsApp, Hangouts, among others. On-net SMS decreased from 7.6 billion posted during the last quarter to 6.0 billion messages during the quarter under review,” the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) said in its latest quarterly statistics on Thursday.
On average, each subscriber sent 57 messages per month.
Local mobile voice traffic declined by 0.2 percent to stand at 10.24 billion minutes down from 10.27 billion minutes posted during the last quarter.
The significant decline in local mobile voice traffic is attributed to the end of the busy festive season during which service providers had launched numerous special offers and promotions.
“The period under review also coincided with the back-to-school season during which parents and guardians had higher school related obligations, hence their preference to cut down on other expenses,” the statistics showed.
The period under review saw mobile money transfer subscriptions reach 24.8 million while the number of mobile money agents grew to 147,761 compared to 141,542 agents recorded the previous quarter.
The number of mobile commerce transactions stood at 190.3 million with the volumes valued at Sh312 billion.
The quarter under review witnessed growth in Internet subscriptions by 3.8 percent to reach 24.8 million subscriptions from 23.9 million subscriptions reported the previous quarter.
As has been the trend, mobile internet contributed the largest share of 99.4 percent of the total Internet subscriptions.
The mobile telephone sub-sector demonstrated an upward trend during the period January to March 2016 with mobile subscriptions growing by 1.8 per cent to reach 38.3 million up from 37.7 million subscriptions recorded during the previous quarter.
Consequently, mobile penetration increased to 89.2 percent up from 87.7 percent recorded last quarter.