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Kenya - Mobile Infrastructure, Operators and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 3 Jul 2019 Update History

Report Pages: 71


Kenya’s mobile market has continued to grow steadily, supported by a mobile subscriber base of about 47 million. Some market consolidation occurred following the acquisition by Airtel and Safaricom of Essar Telecom’s yuMobile business. More significantly, in February 2019 Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya signed an agreement to merge their networks and operate under the Airtel-Telekom joint venture which will be 49% owned by Telekom Kenya. The merge units will provide a greater challenge to the market dominance of Safaricom.

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. Orange Group was the principal casualty of competition, leading it to sell its stake in Telkom Kenya. By contrast, Safaricom has seen very strong growth on the back of its popular M-PESA payment platform. This dominance encouraged the government to consider, and later dismiss, recommendations that Safaricom split off its M-PESA business from its voice and data offerings.

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.

Key developments:

  • Telkom Kenya and Airtel Kenya sign merger agreement;
  • Parliament proposes splitting of m-banking services from MNOs;
  • Safaricom launches M-PESA Global payment service;
  • Government proposes increase in m-money transfer tax;
  • Regulator introduces a new system to measure QoS parameters;
  • M-money interoperability starts;
  • Airtel Kenya pays $25 million for its 800MHz concession to provide LTE services;
  • M-Tiba mobile health payment platform launched;
  • One Network Area initiative expands to include mobile data and mobile money services;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to March 2019, m-money data to May 2019, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q1 2019, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Safaricom, Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain, Celtel), Essar Telkom Kenya, Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Networks, Mobile Pay (Tangaza Pesa), Zioncell Kenya, Finserve Africa (Equitel)

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