By Rhoda Omenya
Just in case you missed it, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) released its sector statistics report on Wednesday. Below are some key highlights from the report.
The Communications Commission of Kenya released mobile statistics for the third quarter (for the period 1st January 2012 to 31st March 2012) on 10th July 2012, based on data that service providers gave. The statistics could be categorized in two: gains and losses.
Gains:The Service Providers - Mobile Operators:
All the four mobile operators experienced gains in subscriptions with the highest gain in absolute value recorded as 386,777 new subscriptions by Safaricom Limited while in percentage terms, Essar Telecom Kenya Limited posted the highest growth of 14.5%, representing growth of 324,284 new subscriptions that could be attributed to increased promotional and special offers targeting the youth that were offered during the period. Of importance to note is that half of Africa’s population is younger than 20. The Service Receivers - Subscription:
As expected, the number of mobile subscribers in the country has increased to 29.2 million between January and March 2012 up from 28.08 million in December last year. This represents a 4.0% growth in total mobile subscriptions. The subscribers represent 89.10% of the Kenyan population up from 71% as at 31st December 2011. At the end of the quarter, mobile penetration was posted as 74.0% up from 71.3% recorded at the close of the previous quarter.
Praekelt Foundation also released a short video of the mobile statistics for Africa 2012. In contrast to Kenya; the mobile penetration in Africa is at 65% against a population of over 1 billion showing Kenya as a big portion of the driving force in mobile telephony in Africa.
The Service – Data and Internet Service
There were 6.41 million mobile data/Internet subscriptions recorded during the quarter up from 6.07 million subscriptions in the previous quarter. Compared to the same period of the previous year, this represents an increase of 69.3%. The continued increase in mobile data/Internet subscriptions could be as a result of stiff competition from the operators offering attractive promotional and special offers and competitive tariffs coupled with the popularity of social media among the young generation. This has, and will continue to contribute immensely to the growth of internet market in the country. More than half of all internet connections in Africa are exclusively on mobile (Praekelt Statistics).
The Service Providers – Fixed Telephone Service
By virtue of increased subscription to mobile telephony, the report shows that the fixed line network continued to record a downward trend. During the quarter under review, there were a total of 272,101 main fixed lines (fixed terrestrial lines and fixed wireless) subscriptions down from 283,546 lines recorded during the previous quarter. This represents a 4.0% decline during the quarter and 38.6% decline when compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Fixed terrestrial subscriptions category recorded a significant decline of 11.2% compared to the fixed wireless subscriptions which declined marginally by 0.7%. The significant decline in the fixed terrestrial subscriptions could be attributed to vandalism of copper cables; and substitution of fixed telephony service with mobile telephony service, a trend that is observed in developing countries.
The Service – Postal and Courier:
The total number of local letters sent declined by 14.3% to record 16.8 million letters. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, 28.6% drop in letters sent was posted. The decline could be attributed to the increasing preference in the use of Internet compared to letters; and thus stiff competition from the telecom operators.
From the above, two key factors emerge:
The importance of youth in assuring gains in mobile telephony cannot be underestimated. The current youth are termed as the mobile generation. If the Praekelt statistic that smart phones outselling computer 4 to 1 then we may very well enter an age where a generation uses their smartphones for everything without ever having to use computers.
Innovation is necessary for any mode of communication to thrive as clearly seen with the scalable use of mobile money and the current innovations e.g. mobile banking. The postal and courier services should borrow a leaf and come up with innovative products that meet customer expectations and this could very possibly reverse the gravitational trend witnessed in that sector.
The findings should encourage Kenyans to use their mobile phones for innovative, empowering, entertaining and life saving services and thus spur more people towards the power of the mobile technology.
On a lighter note here are some random mobile statistics from the Praekelt Foundation:
Did you know that there are more mobile phones in Uganda than there are light bulbs? Or that the average African woman checks her phone 82 times per day but only touches her hair 37 times?