By Lilian Mutegi
The number of mobile money transfer subscriptions declined by 0.5 per cent to stand at 26.6 million subscriptions down from 26.7 million (indicating a drop of 100,000 subscribers) recorded last quarter according to the Communications Authority of Kenya's (CAK) Quarterly Sector stats report for April-June 2014.
The report released yesterday howver states that "the number of active mobile money transfer agents maintained an upward trend with the quarter under review registering 109,286 active agents up from 104,323 registered in the previous quarter."
The report comes at a time when companies like Equity Bank are finding their way into the mobile money market with the Equitel thin-SIM cards already being distributed to clients.
However, the report doesn't state why there was a decline in mobile money subscriptions.
Safaricom still holds the first place with 19,776,056 subscriptions as at in June 2014, while Airtel comes in second with a total of 3,238,754. yuCash came in third, followed by Mobikash and Orange money at 2,147,139, 1,263,665 and 185,463 subscriptions respectively.
Similarly, the number of active mobile money transfer agents maintained an upward trend with the quarter under review registering 109,286 active agents up from 104,323 registered in the previous quarter.
During the quarter under review, the total number of mobile subscriptions grew by 5.6 per cent to reach 32.2 million from 31.8 million during the previous quarter. The number of new subscriptions registered during the period was 416,390. Pre-paid subscriptions increased by 1.1 per cent to post 31.5 million subscriptions from 31.2 million during the last quarter. Post-paid subscriptions grew by 9.6 per cent to reach 665,697 compared to 607,569 recorded during the last quarter.
Mobile penetration in the country gained 1.0 percentage points during the quarter to record 79.2 per cent up from 78.2 per cent recorded in the previous quarter.
Despite the growth in mobile subscriptions, the total mobile voice traffic declined by 4.0 per cent during the quarter to register 7.3 billion minutes down from 7.6 billion minutes in the last quarter. Consequently, each subscriber made average calls of 76.2 minutes per month down from 80.3 minutes observed in the preceding quarter.
The number of SMS sent during the quarter increased by 10.8 per cent to register 6.8 billion up from 6.2 billion posted last quarter. Each subscriber sent out an average of 71.2 messages per month up from 65.1 messages reported in the last quarter.
The number of fixed lines continued to shrink with the quarter under review recording 201,233 lines down from 206,129 lines in the previous quarter. In particular, fixed terrestrial lines declined by 7.2 per cent and stood at 52,053 down from 56,103 in the last quarter.
Fixed 7wireless subscriptions declined by 0.6 per cent to reach 149,180 subscriptions from 150,026 recorded in the previous quarter.
Data/Internet subscriptions grew by 5 per cent to reach 14.0 million from 13.3 million recorded during the previous quarter. . Mobile data/internet subscriptions grew by a similar margin of 5.1 per cent to reach 13.9 million subscriptions from 13.2 million in the previous quarter.
Consequently, the estimated number of internet users increased by 3 per cent to post 22.3 million users up from 21.6 million during the preceding quarter. Broadband subscriptions including, mobile modems and 3G subscriptions, rose to 2.9million up from 2.3million subscriptions recorded in the last quarter.
"International internet bandwidth available in the country declined by 2.1 per cent to 847,464 Mbps down from 865,714 Mbps recorded in the last quarter. This decline could be attributed to the reported decrease in capacity by Sea Submarine Communications Limited (SEACOM), " stated the report.
Utilization of international internet bandwidth declined by 2.5 percent to stand at 436,016 Mbps. This represents 51.4 per cent consumption of the total bandwidth available.
In the postal and courier sub-sector, the number of letters sent locally declined to 11.8 million from 16.8 million letters sent during the last quarter. International incoming letters increased marginally by 0.1 per cent to reach 2.464 million. Additionally, international outgoing letters declined by 6.3 per cent from 812,923 letters sent during the previous quarter to 761,315 letters during the quarter under review.