Fiber Optic Subscriptions in Kenya Up 65%, 51.1 Million Internet Users


The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has released their first quarter sector statistics for the year 2017-2018 (July- September 2017) and it is filled with interesting revelations.

Broadband Internet

Starting off with broadband internet, the CA reports that there has been an increased uptake of it, where it has gone up by 14.3% in the period ending September 2017. This means that broadband subscriptions stands at 17.6 million from 15.4 million posted in the preceding quarter. In addition, broadband penetration rose 4.6% from 34.2% posted last quarter to 38.8%.

Internet Users

From the report, CA estimates that the number of Internet users jumped 12.5% to 51.1 million users compared to the 45.4 million users reported last quarter. In addition, the number of data subscriptions increased by 4.3% to stand at 30.8 million, up from 29.6 million posted the last quarter.

They’ve pointed out that mobile data still remains the key component to Internet subscriptions, at 99%. Mobile subscriptions went up 1.9% to 41.0 million from 40.2 million the previous quarter. Mobile penetration rose 1.7% from 88.7% last quarter to 90.4%.

Safaricom lost 0.7 percentage points to record a market share of 71.9%, Airtel was also down to 14.9% from last quarters 15.3% and Telkom Kenya rose by 1.2 percentage points to stand at 8.4%.

Safaricom’s total mobile subscriptions stood at 29.4 million, up slightly from 29.2 million. (28.2 million prepaid, 1.2 million postpaid). Airtel dropped 1.2% to 6.1 million from 6.17 million last quarter. Telkom Kenya rose quite significantly from 2.8 million last quarter to 3.4 million last quarter, a 18.5% increase.

Fibre optic subscriptions (fiber to business and fiber to home) shot up 65.5% to 90,534 from a figure of 54,700 recorded the previous quarter.

Mobile Money

Mobile money is huge in Kenya and it shows consistently from CA reports. They now report there are 28.1 million mobile money transfer subscriptions and 184,537 registered agents.

A total of 537.2 million transactions (includes both sending and withdrawals) valued at Kshs 1.65 trillion were made during the period.

Also during the period, 352.4 million mobile ecommerce transactions were made where people spent 714.3 billion buying goods and services.

In this category, MPESA has a market share of 80.8%, Equitel (6.8%), MobiKash (6.3%), Airtel Money (5.8%) and Mobile Pay (0.3%)

Voice Traffic

Total volume of traffic from mobile networks was 11 billion minutes, up from 10.6 billion minutes.

Intra network mobile traffic rose by 4.0% to 9.9 billion minutes from 9.5 billion the previous period. Inter network traffic increased by 3.5% to 1.14 billion minutes, up from 1.1 billion last quarter.

Safaricom dominates in this category by posting 8.5 billion voice minutes of which 8.1 billion is on-net and 310.8 million is off net traffic. However, its voice market share declined by 2.7% to 76.9%

Airtel’s voice traffic rose to 1.9 billion minutes, up from 1.5 billion minutes and its voice market share rose to 17.4%.

Telkom Kenya recorded a decline in mobile voice traffic to post 589.8 million minutes from 599.1 million. In addition, its voice market share dropped to 5.3%.


Safaricom recorded a total of 18.7 billion messages originating from its network and subsequently its network share stood at 97.0%, up from 95.9%.

Airtel recorded 495.2 million messages sent from its network, which was down from the 543.2 million sent the previous quarter. Its SMS market share dropped to 2.6% from 3.6% last quarter.

Telkom reported a total of 66.7 million messages, down from 68.1 million messages sent in the previous quarter. Their share now stands at 0.3%.

Fixed Telephone Service

Fixed telephone subscriptions were down this quarter from 71,307 posted last quarter to 71,118. This was distributed as 70,803 for fixed terrestrial and 315 for fixed wireless connections.

Fixed network traffic dropped by 11.3% to record 603,200 minutes from 680,082 last quarter. CA says the downward trend in local fixed traffic is partly due to the declining number of fixed network connections.


In the broadcasting section, CA reports that 83.6% of Kenyans are covered by the digital broadcasting signal. Apparently this is attributed to the signal rollout by ADNLin Kilifi, Tana River, Taita and SIGNET in Marsabit and Maralal.

Free to air TV channels stood at 62, down from 66 channels while the number of pay TV service providers on the Digital Terrestrial Television still remains at 2 (StarTimes and GoTV).

They also report that the number of digital set top boxes stood at 969,092 for the free to air type and 4,451,278 for PAY TV.

Registered Domain Names

The number of registered dot ke domain names as of 30th September 2017 stood at 69,567. 93% of this is dominated by the dot co dot ke subdomain.


  1. The population of Kenya is about 48.5M which means that they are probably counting the number of internet devices not users.

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