Kenyas Mobile Subscriptions Drop in Latest Regulator Quarterly Report


Kenya’s Communication Authority has published the quarter 3 2016 Telecommunication sector statistics report for the quarter ending September.

As usual the report compares a quarter with the previous one on market performance in the internet and telecommunication sector. And mobile subscriptions have dropped.

Communications Authority reported that the number of mobile subscribers have dropped by 1.2 million from 39.7 million reported in the previous quarter to 38.5 million his quarter. This is a 3 percent decline. This translates to a mobile penetration decline with most recent market-share being 87.3 percent down from 90 percent.

The breakdown for the 38.5 million is 26.6 million subscribers for Safaricom which went up from 25.9, Airtel with 6.7 million subscribers up from 6.5 million, 2.9 million for Telkom Kenya down from 5.2 million, Finserve at 2.2 million up from 2 million and lastly Sema Mobile with 266 subscribers down from 275. The market-share thus is 69 percent for Safaricom, 17.5 percent for Airtel, 7.6 percent for Telkom Kenya Limited and 5.9 percent for Finserve Africa Limited (Equitel).

The drop in mobile subscribers and consequently market-share is attributed to the alignment of reporting by Telkom Kenya Limited to regulatory requirement that defines active subscribers as those who have a revenue generating service within the preceding 90-day period.

Internet subscriptions

This same alignment affected the number of internet subscriptions which saw a drop from 26.8 million to 25.6 million. A 4.5 percent decline. The total number of mobile data subscriptions were 25.5 million by end of quarter three while terrestrial wireless connections were 15,835 up from 13,449 and fiber optic subscriptions hit 33,269 up from 27,571 representing a 17.7 percent and 20.7 percent growth respectively.

Mobile data share breakdown is as follows: 63.2 percent for Safaricom, 21.2 percent for Airtel, 8.9 percent for Equitel and 6.6 percent for Telkom Kenya.

Voice Traffic

Safaricom expectedly reported the highest voice traffic with 8.1 billion minutes reported over the quarter compared to the previous quarter at 7.9 billion. The voice traffic market-share was a decline however, with 76.3 percent compared with 77.8 percent in the previous quarter.

Airtel had a similar run with 1.48 billion minutes, an increase from 1.42 billion, but a decline in market-share by 0.1 percent at 13.8 percent.

Telkom Kenya gained both ways on this one, with mobile traffic gain of 26.2 percent with 1.01 billion minutes up from 803.6 million minutes. Voice market-share for the carrier increased from 7.8 percent to 9.4 percent.

Finserve Africa Limited under the brand Equitel reported 49.5 million minutes up from 47.4 million minutes and a stagnation in voice traffic market-share at 0.5 percent.

Sema Mobile Services Limited recorded 32,649 from last quarter’s 25,376 minutes.

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Martin is the Managing Editor at Techweez, passionate about personal tech and telling stories of consumer experiences. Talk to me: [email protected]


  1. I also wonder if a proportion of the drop is due to some subscribers dropping multiple carriers. I have dropped Airtel and Orange in the last year.

    A more useful statistic would be to list the number of unique subscribers, by registration, and not the total number of active ‘lines’

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