Kenya’s mobile market has continued to grow steadily, supported by a mobile subscriber base of about 39 8 million by early 2017. Some market consolidation occurred following the acquisition by Airtel and Safaricom of Essar Telecom’s yuMobile business. While all network operators have invested in mobile technologies and infrastructure upgrades to support mobile data services, competition has nevertheless presented challenges to their profitability, with uneven revenue growth reported in recent years. While Orange Group was the principal casualty of competition, leading it to sell its stake in Telkom Kenya, Safaricom has seen very strong growth on the back of its popular M-PESA payment platform. This market dominance, however, has encouraged the government to consider recommendations from a report commissioned by the regulator in late 2016 that Safaricom split –off its M-PESA business.
To encourage the development of LTE services the government has pursued an open-access approach. Disputes centered on licence fees delayed the launch of LTE services by MNOs, though they continued to invest in infrastructure and technology upgrades using trial licences.
A number of MVNO licences awarded since 2014 have added to the competitive mix, with Equitel establishing a market share of about 3.8% by early 2017.
Vodacom takes a large stake in Safaricom; Airtel begins trialling LTE; Treasury launches its M-Akiba platform to buy and sell government bonds; M-Tiba mobile health payment platform launched; regulator proposes limit of ten SIM cards per subscriber; Orange Money platform to be revamped and relaunched by end-2017; Safaricom contracts Nokia Networks to develop LTE-A network, shares capacity on its LTE infrastructure, launches Hello Doctor m-medicine service; One Network Area initiative expands to include mobile data and mobile money services; regulator reviews framework for QoS surveys; report update includes the regulator’s market data to December 2016, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q4 2016, recent market developments.
Safaricom (Vodafone), Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain, Celtel), Essar Telecom Kenya (yuMobile, formerly Econet), Telkom Kenya (Orange Kenya), Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Networks.
Companies (Major Players)
Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Regulations & Government Policies
Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets)
Number of pages 51
Last updated 16 May 2017
Analyst: Henry Lancaster
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