Kenya Telecoms Market Report

Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 10 Nov 2021 Update History

Report Pages: 224

Kenya’s mobile operators progress with 5G trials

Kenya’s telecom market continues to undergo considerable changes in the wake of increased competition, improved international connectivity, and rapid developments in the mobile market. The country is directly connected to a number of submarine cables, and with Mombasa as a landing point for LIT’s newly completed East and West Africa terrestrial network, the country serves as a key junction for onward connectivity to the Arabian states and the Far East. The additional internet capacity has meant that the cost of internet access has fallen dramatically in recent years, allowing services to be affordable to a far greater proportion of the population. In parallel, the sector’s regulator has reduced interconnection tariffs and implemented a range of measures aimed at developing further competition.

The incumbent fixed-line telco Telkom Kenya has struggled to make headway in this market, prompting reorganisation in 2018 which included a sale and leaseback arrangement with its mobile tower portfolio. A further restructuring exercise in late 2020 was aimed at repositioning the company for the digital age, and to improve its ability to compete in the market.

Numerous competitors are rolling out national and metropolitan backbone networks and wireless access networks to deliver services to population centres across the country. Several fibre infrastructure sharing agreements have been forged, and as a result the number of fibre broadband connections has increased sharply in recent years.

Much of the progress in the broadband segment is due to the government’s revised national broadband strategy, which has been updated with goals through to 2030, and which are largely dependent on mobile broadband platforms based on LTE and 5G.

BuddeComm notes that the pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure.

Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • Telkom Kenya and Airtel Kenya cancel merger plans;
  • Phase 2 of the USF gets underway, with work to be completed by late-2023;
  • Alphabet cancels Project Loon, though Kenya is chosen to take part in Project Taara to deliver affordable broadband to rural areas lacking connectivity;
  • Jambo Pay is awarded an MVNO licence, focussed on the IoT sector;
  • Government commits to connecting all schools to the internet by 2030;
  • Telkom Kenya selected to manage the PEACE cable landing station;
  • Universal Service Fund extends mobile coverage to underserved northern regions;
  • Safaricom launches M-Pesa Global payment service, begins limited 5G trials;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to June 2021, operator data to Q2 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Telkom Kenya, Jamii Telecom, Access Kenya (Dimension Data), Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC), Wananchi, Safaricom, Bharti Airtel, MTN, Liquid Intelligent Technologies (Liquid Telecom), Essar Telkom Kenya, Mobile Pay (Tangaza Pesa), Zioncell Kenya, Finserve Africa (Equitel), Kenya Data Networks (KDN), Jamii Telecom, SimbaNet, Africa Online, Access Kenya (Dimension Data), Wananchi Online, Swift Global, Internet Solutions Kenya (InterConnect), Gilat Satellite Networks, Afsat Communications, Inmarsat, Indigo Telecom (Thuraya), Nation TV (NTV)

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