Sector stats for Kenya’s telecoms space have been released by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).
These are numbers for the first quarter of the 2021/2022 FY (July to September 2021).
The details include a jump in the number of active mobile subscriptions (SIM Cards) at 64.9 million.
This was a 0.78% increase, although it was a drop from the 3.9% increase that was recorded in the previous quarter.
It has also emerged that the slow uptake of SIM card subscription follows the end of the USSD customer acquisition channel, now replaced by app channel for SIM registration as directed by the CA.
That is not all that can be deduced from the numbers.
For instance, the ongoing pandemic has changed how people use their phones or SIM cards in general.
People are using mobile money services more, but that is to be expected because products such as M-PESA are deeply integrated into Kenya’s financial services. At the same time, the state, and other stakeholders, sensitized people to use mobile money services to curb the spread of the virus.
It has also been reported that most Kenyans decreased their spending, but increased their borrowing, especially on mobile loan platforms, including loan apps and overdraft facilities such as Fuliza.
At the end of the quarter under assessment, the number of active mobile money subscriptions dropped by 0.2 percent to 35.59 million subscriptions.
The development has been linked to the increase in the number of mobile loan defaulters, whose SIM cards remained unused or inactive.
On the bright side of things, other services such as internet usage have seen key growth.
Infrastructure improvements and access to affordable smartphones have seen more Kenyans access the internet.
However, the number of SIM cards subscribed to internet service dropped from 46 million to 44.88 million.
Mobile broadband, on the other hand, grew by 0.53 percent to 26.90 million, implying an increase in demand and uptake of high-speed broadband plans by users.