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Mobile Internet Usage Surges In Kenya.

It was reported in the Business Daily Newspaper last week that Mobile Internet usage in Kenya is now surging forward compared to wireless or other more traditionally delivered forms of Internet access. According to the statistics from the Communications Commission of Kenya, mobile Internet subscribers stood at 1,674,948 in March 2009 and they grew rapidly to 1,801,876 inJune 2009. This means that more than 200,000 new mobile Internet subscribers signed up in a period of only 3 months (Internet Service Providers, are you reading the writing on the wall?).

At the same time, in the period between March 2009 and June 2009, total wireless subscribers including mobile Internet subscribers grew from 1,704,948 to 1,814,183 subscribers. This would imply that wireless Internet users in Kenya generally prefer mobility to being in a fixed location. Lastly, The total number of Internet subscribers in Kenya on all modes of connectivity grew from 3,409,896 in March 2009 to 3,648,406 in June 2009. In a nutshell, Individual users as a market want mobile, fast, reliable, cost-effective and ubiquitous mobile Internet in Kenya! (Internet Service Providers, I ask again, are you reading the writing on the wall?).

These statistics go to show that the largest growth area for Internet usage in Kenya is the mobile Internet. This space is largely dominated by the major mobile networks including Safaricom, Orange, Zain, and YU. If these trends are indeed a precursor to the imminent future of Kenya’s Internet space, it would seem that Internet Service Providers, Cyber Cafes and other conventional Internet connectivity businesses are going to take a very big hit in the coming year(s). Its time for them to disruptively rejig their business models because things are certainly not looking bright for them!

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5 Comments

  1. October 7, 2009 at 4:51 am — Reply

    Mobile telephony is largely untapped but we as http://www.Onlineduka.com have laid down plans to make mobile more usable to the African markets.
    Its critical that nay business now thinks of mobile seriously because that is one area where you can effectively reach clientele!

  2. October 12, 2009 at 5:17 am — Reply

    Actually I think the reasons Mobile Internet is growing faster has nothing to do with preference but only pricing.

    Many smaller offices and private users do not have the wired phone line required by other technologies and installing a landline is not cheap. Paying per MB on pre-paid mobile Internet offers a payment plan ppl are used to from standard mobile phone payments and allows customers to adjust their Internet usage after their wallets.

    Mobile modems going for 4,000KES is hard to beat as a way of getting Internet access. The only persons even thinking of a different solution are heavy Internet users. Not until Internet users start using the full potential of the Internet instead of just casual browsing and email will fixed lines and direct fiber connections be an option. Fixed line operators have to start offering installation and modem for free (Orange already does this I think) if they want to compete with the mobile ISPs.

    Another issue is of course that a computer is expensive and the number of websites that can be used with a mobile phone are very limited (especially Kenyan websites Рthe big ones ie FB, GMail etc works fine). This basically means that the cyber caf̩s will still be needed for many years.

  3. Majid
    October 15, 2009 at 12:00 pm — Reply

    Hi Guys!The reason ppl go for 3G modems is easy. First of all Telkom Orange fixed lines do not reach every corner of Kenya and even Nairobi.Vandalism of the copper cables plays a huge roll. I would have gone for the Broadband Nyumbani, but they told that they wouldn’t put an lines in my area due to the post election violence.3G modems are damn expensive for me,since am a heavy user. I have to go to cyber cafes in the city to download my stuff most of the times.And ZAIN should really o something about their Data services.
    Have nice day folks!

  4. November 5, 2009 at 4:49 am — Reply

    We welcome all efforts being made to make internet affordable to all Kenyans. Am convinced that when majority of Kenyans get internet then numerous opportunities will come up to the benefit of all.

  5. November 26, 2009 at 6:43 am — Reply

    Stephen,

    Your comment sounds conspicuously like a sales plug. Therefore, I will not approve it. Thanks for the brief but positive thoughts on the post.

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