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Kenya’s Mobile Penetration Hits Record High As Safaricom and Telkom Lose Market Share


The Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) has released a new Sector Statistics report detailing how the ICT sector performed in the January to March 2020 period.

In the report, the authority notes that mobile penetration has hit new levels as Kenyans registered new 1.9 million SIM Cards.

This is a slight increase compared to the previous quarter when the number of new SIM cards increased by 1.3 million. The total number of active mobile subscriptions (SIM Cards) in the country stood at 55.2 million at the end of March, representing 116.1 percent mobile (SIM) penetration.

Airtel Kenya emerged as the biggest winner for the quarter just as the previous period. In the previous Nov-Dec quarter, Airtel Kenya was the only telco that saw the number of mobile subscriptions increase, as Safaricom and Telkom Kenya recorded declines.

For the Jan-March quarter, the script remains the same. Telkom Kenya lost the largest percentage points with 0.4 shed off, to post a market share of 5.8 percent. Safaricom’s mobile subscription market share dropped by 0.3 percent to 64.8 percent.

Airtel gained 0.7 percent, now controlling 26.6 percent of the Kenyan mobile subscriptions market. Equity Bank’s Equitel ended the period under review with an unchanged market share of 3.1 percent.

Post-Paid Subscriptions

The post-paid subscription market share is led by Telkom Kenya which 3.2 million subscribers followed by Safaricom PLC at 1million. Safaricom’s post-paid subscriptions dropped in the quarter from slightly over 1.1 million. Airtel Kenya grew its pos-paid mobile subscription base from 97,000 to slightly above 106,000.

With Safaricom revamping their post-paid offerings back in March, we shall see how customers respond to that in the Sector Statistics report which will be documenting the April to June quarter.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin is a freelance tech journalist. Talk to me via email at alvinwanjala[at]pm[dot]me

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