More Kenyans are reported to have come online with the number of internet subscriptions going up by 5.8 per cent to stand at 14.8 million in the quarter ending September, 2014 from the 4 million subscriptions registered in the previous quarter.
In the same trend, the estimated number of internet users in the country stood at 23.3 million, which demonstrates a 4.1 per cent growth from the previous 22.3 million registered in the previous quarter, showing that more numbers are connecting to the internet for the first time.
This growth has been reported by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) who attribute the growth of internet users to the continued increase of mobile subscriptions that is contributing to the large numbers coming online for the first time through mobile.
“The growth in the number of data/internet subscriptions was mainly boosted by mobile data/internet subscriptions that have been on the rise over time,” reads part of the CA report.
According to the report, mobile internet subscriptions rose to 14.7 million up from the 13.9 million reported for the last quarter and as a result demonstrating the upward trend in mobile internet growth among Kenyans.
And as mobile internet grows, internet connectivity through terrestrial wireless and satellite subscriptions continue to maintain a downward uptake as has been witnessed over time, to register a 19.3 per cent and 41.4 percent decrease respectively in the previous year.
Fibre subscriptions on the other hand was reported to have registered a gradual growth of 1.1 per cent from the last quarter and in the same trend a 6.1 per cent growth from the same period in the previous year, with positive growth meeting expectations as organizations continue to take up fibre connections.
Away from the internet penetration, the report shows an increase in total mobile subscription from 32.2 million registered in the last quarter to 32.8 million, putting the current mobile penetration at 80.5 per cent from 79.2 per cent registered in the last quarter.
With the continued introduction of low-cost phones into the Kenyan market, this number is expected to go up and in the same manner so will the mobile internet subscriptions, to be facilitated by the continued uptake of smartphones due to the low priced devices being made available in the market.
2015 is expected to see more growth in the low cost smartphone market in a bid to connect more people and encourage more numbers to come online, with one of the new entrants, Obi Mobiles announcing their interest to come to East Africa in March this year, when it will launch in Kenya.
As mobile subscription goes up, so will network operators in the country continue to do all they can to grow their subscriber base. Orange, for example, which failed in selling its stake in Kenya some time last year has registered a growth in market share and so has Airtel.
In the quarter under review, Safaricom lost subscribers in its Prepaid service but gained in its Postpaid service while Airtel Kenya gained in its Prepaid customer base but lost subscribers in its PostPaid service. The same was the case in Voice calls and SMS, where Safaricom gained in voice and lost in SMS, with Airtel gaining in both.
The CA expects that with the continuous expansion of internet connectivity across the country, more users are expected to be registered thus propelling the growth prospects of the internet sub-sector even further.