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Mobile Web Rising in Kenya.

Some interesting Internet usage research findings for East African cities we’re announced this past week by TNS Research International. The research found that Kampala in Uganda has the highest level of internet usage with 53% of the population there being online. Nairobi in Kenya and Arusha in Tanzania are tied at 49% usage whilst Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania has 31% usage. In Nairobi, the research findings also indicate that Nairobi in Kenya that 31% of the population uses the Internet on a daily basis and 49% use the Internet weekly whilst 20% use it often.

Also in the news this week is that apparently 45% of Internet users in Kenya access the Internet via their mobile phone. Is that really possible? This would imply that if Kenya has around 4 million internet users in total (currently) then approximately 2 million Internet users are doing so on their mobile. Having attended the Mobile Web Africa Conference in South Africa earlier this month, what came out repeatedly in a good number of speaker presentations is that Kenya is one of the major mobile web countries in Africa in terms of growth and overall usage. This is something that I have repeatedly noted in a good number posts on this blog.

So, going forward, if the mobile web is already experiencing major growth in Kenya, what exactly are we doing to take advantage of this new reality? One thing is for sure, most of the mobile web sites that are heavily trafficked in Kenya and the broader East African region are NOT local. More specifically, some mobile web sites that dominate East African usage are Twitter, Faceboook and Wikipedia (See Opera Software’s State of the Mobile Web for Africa here). However, as far as I can tell, a good number of Kenyan organizations do not have mobile web sites as yet. However, its good to see that the Daily Nation has a mobile web site at http://mobile.nation.co.ke as does the East African Standard at http://www.eastandard.net/m.

Although it will take time for Kenyan organizations to take advantage of the mobile web, I am pleased to note that two mainstream companies have already made the mobile web leap! The first is Kenya Airways (KQ). Earlier this week, it came to my attention that they launched a KQ mobile web site at http://www.kqwap.com. I don’t why they didn’t register a more suitable domain name like kqmobile.com or kenyaairways.mobi but they do get the general idea spot on!. More specifically, the KQ mobile web site channels both information and services such as flight status, flight schedules, contacts, press releases, baggage, careers, and special offers.

The other Kenyan business that has created a mobile web site is CFC Stanbic Bank at http://www.cfcstanbicbank.mobi. The mobile web site was developed by a South African digital agency through Standard Bank who are CFC Stanbic Bank’s majority shareholders in Kenya. The CFC Stanbic Bank web site provides information and services such as their profile, bank accounts and investment services, calculators for loans, sports sponsorships, competitions, branch locations and contact information.

In conclusion, it looks like the Kenyan mobile web is indeed taking off and its only a matter of time before every business in the country will need to  consider having a mobile web site if this is where the market is clearly headed. In related news this week as well was the launch of Safaricom’s Kes. 200.00 unlimited daily bundle and Orange Kenya’s new low rate of Kes. 1.00 per megabyte on their Kes. 3,900.00 monthly bundle. Its (gradually) getting even cheaper to get online via the mobile networks’. Indeed, the mobile web is rising in Kenya!

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