Find Telecommunication expertise in Kenya
- Usage and Infrastruture
The telecommunications and internet industry in Kenya has undergone significant changes due to technological advances and regulatory restructuring. It was among the fastest-growing telecoms sectors in Africa in 2012, generating US$1.7 billion, and is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6% up to 2017 (Pyramid Research, 2013). This constitutes 4.6% of the overall GDP for Kenya ($37.23 billion, 2012).
Kenya liberalised the industry throughout the 2000s. Mobile companies outnumber fixed telephone lines, with the two main providers being Telkom Kenya (the former state-owned monopoly) and the Vodafone-owned SafariCom. As the mobile phone sector has expanded along with the growth of the middle-class in Kenya, companies have extended their services to include internet service provision. This is the result of private investment from telecom companies such as Vodafone, France Telecoms and Essar Communications.
Following a reorganisation of the Kenyan government in 2013, the Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) was created to regulate the sector. This body is responsible for many telecom updates, such as the National Optical Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) development project, digital inclusion and public sector shared services (Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology press release, 2013).
ICT education includes the Institute of Advanced Technology (IAT) as well as the ICT Integration Harmonized Curriculum Guide which trains public school teachers. Also, Kenya is a world-leading nation in mobile money using M-PESA, a system which allows users to transfer cash through their phones. About 25% of the country’s GDP travels through it at any time (The Economist, 2013). There are 245,221 employees in the sector, including both direct and indirect FTEs (Deloitte, 2011).
Kenya has 4 landlines, 738 mobile subscriptions, one fixed broadband subscription and 22 mobile broadband subscriptions per 1,000 people (2014). Approximately 32.1% of the population are internet users, which includes an average of 24 kbps of international bandwidth per user (World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, 2013-14). In terms of ranking, Kenya’s internet growth is outpacing its telecoms industry, with the report placing it 65and 122 out of 148 countries for subscriptions for internet users and mobile phone respectively.
Telkom Kenya has 2.8 million customers on GSM, fixed and CDMA wireless platforms (Telkom Kenya, 2011), while SafariCom has 17 million subscribers, including both telephone and internet, constituting approximately 77% of the market (The Wall Street Journal, 2011). However, companies such as Airtel Kenya and Econet Ltd are on the rise.