The number of Internet users has increased significantly in the three months to December, driven by affordable smartphones and data bundles, the latest telecoms industry report shows.

The Communications Authority of Kenya’s (CA) latest quarterly report released today indicates that the number of estimated Internet users recorded a growth of 4.3 per cent to stand at 39.6 million compared to 37.7 million users recorded during the preceding quarter.

Internet penetration stood at 89.7 per cent up from 85.3 per cent during the previous quarter.

Mobile data subscriptions rose by 3.9 per cent and accounts for majority of the subscriptions standing at 26.5 million subscriptions. 

Internet users in the country access data either through terrestrial wireless, fixed cable modem or fixed fibre optic, all segments that registered growth during the quarter under review. Only the Satellite segment did not record growth.

The terrestrial wireless data subscriptions grew by 87.7 per cent to post 29,724 subscriptions. Fixed fibre optic and fixed cable modem subscriptions grew by 18.0 and 2.8 per cent respectively.

The number of broadband subscriptions continued its upward trend, recording 12.7 million subscriptions up from 11.9 million subscriptions registered during the preceding quarter.

Subsequently, broadband penetration level stood at 28.7 per cent during the quarter under review.

“Among those who accessed Internet; mobile data subscriptions continued to account for the highest stake posting 26.7 million subscriptions during the quarter under review, which represented 99 per cent of the subscriptions,”

“This could be attributed to the affordability of smartphones in the country as well as affordable data/internet bundles offered by various Internet service operators.” Read part of the report.

The report also noted that the uptake of smartphones by consumers that offer access to various mobile phone applications which include: social media, search engines, email and video chat, which are very popular applications, has seen increase in the use of internet/data services.

“As technologies develop and become popular, new uses and consumer behaviours emerge. It is expected that the introduction of new generation of network and device technologies will lead to further changes in usage.”

During the period under review the number of Short Messaging Service (SMS) sent during the quarter increased significantly by 29.1 per cent to register 15.8 billion messages up from 12.2 billion messages sent during the last quarter.

The total traffic originating from one mobile network to another recorded a growth of 0.9 per cent during the quarter under review to stand at 10.8 billion minutes up from 10.7 billion minutes posted during the previous quarter.

On the contrary, the minutes of use per month per subscription slightly fell to register 92.7 minutes during the quarter down from last quarter’s 92.8 minutes.

The number of Outgoing SMS traffic recorded a remarkable growth of 29.1 per cent during the quarter to reach 15.8 billion messages up from 12.2 billion messages sent during the preceding quarter.

The introduction of the One Area Network by the Northern corridor country regulators that includes, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Southern Sudan has contributed to the continued growth of minutes of usage within the region.

During the quarter under review, 36.8 million minutes of total roaming-out voice traffic volume was registered with roaming within East Africa Countries contributing 32.1 million minutes, while non- EAC countries contributed 4.6 million minutes

The full report can be accessed here