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Kenya - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

  • April 2017
  • 121 pages
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
Report ID: 3715837

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Kenya’s telecom regulator looks closely at Safaricom’s market dominance

Kenya’s telecommunications market continues to undergo considerable changes resulting from increased competition, improved international connectivity and rapid developments in the mobile market. The wholesale price for broadband has fallen dramatically in recent, benefitting consumers in both the fixed and mobile segments. The incumbent fixed-line telco, Telkom Kenya, which was managed by Orange Group from 2007 until it was sold to Helios in November 2015, has struggled to make headway in the competitive market.

The broadband market has been transformed by a combination of increased investments in network upgrades among the key providers. A number of major FttP rollouts have been undertaken, which have pushed fast broadband connectivity to a greater number of subscribers. Most broadband subscribers remain on mobile networks. These are being migrated from the dominant 3G segment to LTE as this technology is built out by operators. A range of services including video streaming, e-commerce, e-learning and e-government are evolving rapidly on the back of this improved infrastructure.

Kenya’s mobile market has continued to grow steadily, supported by a mobile subscriber base of about 39 8 million by early 2017. Some market consolidation occurred following the acquisition by Airtel and Safaricom of Essar Telecom’s yuMobile business. While all network operators have invested in mobile technologies and infrastructure upgrades to support mobile data services, competition has nevertheless presented challenges to their profitability, with uneven revenue growth reported in recent years.

While Orange Group was the principal casualty of competition, leading it to sell its stake in Telkom Kenya, Safaricom has seen very strong growth on the back of its popular M-PESA payment platform. This market dominance, however, has encouraged the government to consider recommendations from a report commissioned by the regulator in late 2016 that Safaricom split –off its M-PESA business.
To encourage the development of LTE services the government has pursued an open-access approach. Disputes centered on licence fees delayed the launch of LTE services by MNOs, though they continued to invest in infrastructure and technology upgrades using trial licences.

A number of MVNO licences awarded since 2014 have added to the competitive mix, with Equitel establishing a market share of about 3.8% by early 2017.

Key developments:
- Government commits KES300 to its free Wi-Fi project;
- Government cuts back on scale of second phase national broadband network project;
- Universal Service Fund extends mobile coverage to underserved northern regions;
- Orange Group sells its holding in Telkom Kenya to Helios;
- Airtel begins trialling LTE;
- Treasury launches its M-Akiba platform to buy and sell government bonds;
- Orange Money platform to be revamped and relaunched by end-2017;
- Safaricom contracts Nokia Networks to develop LTE-A network;
- One Network Area initiative expands to include mobile data and mobile money services;
- Regulator reviews framework for QoS surveys;
- Nairobi County to connect all 85 public secondary schools with Wi-Fi;
- Report update includes the regulator’s market data to December 2016, operator data to Q4 2016, recent market developments.


Companies mentioned in this report:
Telkom Kenya (Orange Kenya), Kenya Data Networks (KDN), Jamii Telecom, SimbaNet, Africa Online, Access Kenya (Dimension Data), Wananchi Online, MTN Business Kenya (UUNet), Swift Global, Internet Solutions Kenya (InterConnect), Safaricom (IGO Wireless, OneCom, Vodafone), Gilat Satellite Networks, Afsat Communications, Inmarsat, Indigo Telecom (Thuraya), Nation TV (NTV), KenTV, Liquid Telecom, Kenya Data Networks (KDN), Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC), Bharti Airtel, MTN, Essar Telecom Kenya (yuMobile, formerly Econet), Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Networks.

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