Kenya - Mobile Infrastructure, Operators and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
Kenya’s mobile market has continued to grow steadily, supported by a mobile subscriber base of about 47 million. Some market consolidation occurred following the acquisition by Airtel and Safaricom of Essar Telecom’s yuMobile business. More significantly, in February 2019 Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya signed an agreement to merge their networks and operate under the Airtel-Telekom joint venture which will be 49% owned by Telekom Kenya. The merge units will provide a greater challenge to the market dominance of Safaricom.
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. Orange Group was the principal casualty of competition, leading it to sell its stake in Telkom Kenya. By contrast, Safaricom has seen very strong growth on the back of its popular M-PESA payment platform. This dominance encouraged the government to consider, and later dismiss, recommendations that Safaricom split off its M-PESA business from its voice and data offerings.
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.
Telkom Kenya and Airtel Kenya sign merger agreement;
Parliament proposes splitting of m-banking services from MNOs;
Safaricom launches M-PESA Global payment service;
Government proposes increase in m-money transfer tax;
Regulator introduces a new system to measure QoS parameters;
M-money interoperability starts;
Airtel Kenya pays $25 million for its 800MHz concession to provide LTE services;
M-Tiba mobile health payment platform launched;
One Network Area initiative expands to include mobile data and mobile money services;
Report update includes the regulator’s market data to March 2019, m-money data to May 2019, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q1 2019, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Safaricom, Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain, Celtel), Essar Telkom Kenya, Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Networks, Mobile Pay (Tangaza Pesa), Zioncell Kenya, Finserve Africa (Equitel)
Table of Contents
Overview of Kenya’s mobile market
Forecasts - mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
Quality of Service (QoS)
SIM card registration
Internet of Things (IoT)
Major mobile operators
Mobile market share by operator
Privatisation and IPO
Airtel Kenya (formerly Zain, Celtel, KenCell)
Essar Telecom Kenya (yuMobile, formerly Econet)
Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
Mobile content and applications
Mobile money transfer, m-banking
Airtel Money (ZAP)
T-Kash (Telkom Money)
List of Tables
Table 1 – Mobile services revenue and investments – 2009- 2017
Table 2 – Mobile traffic share by operator – 2014 – 2019
Table 3 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Kenya – 1999 – 2009
Table 4 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Kenya – 2010 – 2018
Table 5 – Prepaid and contract mobile subscribers – 2014- 2019
As you know, I have resigned from the Labor Ministry and have decided not to re-contest the seat of Charlton at the next election – both for personal reasons.
Before leaving Parliament, I particularly wish to record my thanks to you for your generous and constructive participation in the deliberations that generated significant economic policy reforms for the Australian community. Continuous economic transformation is a key challenge that faces all Governments.
The development of sound public policy should always be contestable. Ultimately, good and equitable outcomes are not concessions to any particular interest group, but the careful balancing of interests to create the greatest possible benefit for the nation. You have contributed to that, and I sincerely thank you for it.
Greg Combet, Former Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation