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Kenya - Mobile Market - Overview, Statistics and Forecasts

Kenya - Mobile Market - Overview, Statistics and Forecasts

A price war has characterised Kenya's mobile communications sector in recent years, following the market entry of the third and fourth network. This has led to accelerated subscriber growth, but it has also presented challenges to the profitability of the operators, forcing them to streamline their operations and develop new revenue streams in an environment of falling average revenue per user (ARPU) in the voice market. Third generation (3G) mobile broadband services as well as mobile payment and banking services are delivering these additional revenues, but all service segments are highly competitive. For fourth generation (4G/LTE) technology, the Kenyan government was following a unique open-access approach with plans to licence a multi-facetted consortium to operate the network, but this met with resistance from the existing operators. In early 2014, the major international shareholders in both the third and fourth network announced plans to exit the Kenyan market, prompting the government to issue three new MVNO licences.

Key developments:

India's Essar and France Telecom's Orange plan to exit the market;
Price war is threatening profitability;
New MVNO licences;
Government's open-access approach to licensing 4G/LTE network revised.

Companies covered in this report:

Safaricom (Vodafone); Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain, Celtel); Essar Telecom Kenya (Yu, formerly Econet); Telkom Kenya (Orange, France Telecom); Huawei Technologies; ZTE; Alcatel-Lucent; Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN).


1. Synopsis
2. Overview of Kenya's mobile market
2.1 Mobile statistics
3. Regulatory issues
3.1 Interconnection
3.2 International gateways
3.3 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
3.4 Quality of Service (QoS) control
3.4.1 QoS survey 2009
3.4.2 QoS survey 2010
3.5 SIM card registration
3.6 Taxes
3.7 Tariff regulation
3.8 MVNO licences
4. Major mobile operators
4.1 Safaricom Ltd
4.1.1 Privatisation and IPO
4.1.2 Financial results
4.1.3 Network development and operations
4.2 Bharti Airtel Kenya (formerly Zain, Celtel, KenCell)
4.2.1 Equity transactions 2004-2010
4.2.2 Financial results
4.2.3 Network development and operations
4.3 Essar Telecom Kenya (Yu, formerly Econet)
4.3.1 Six years of licence disputes
4.3.2 Network development and operations
4.3.3 Shutdown
4.4 Orange Kenya (Telkom Kenya)
5. Mobile voice services
5.1 Prepaid cards
5.2 Special regional tariffs
5.3 International roaming
5.3.1 Free international roaming
5.4 VoIP
5.5 Flashback
5.6 GSM community phones
5.7 Price war
5.8 Low-cost handsets
5.9 Counterfeit handsets
5.10 Satellite mobile
6. Mobile data services
6.1 SMS
6.2 MMS
6.3 GPRS and EDGE
6.4 BlackBerry
7. 3G
8. LTE (4G)
9. Mobile money transfer, m-banking
9.1 M-Pesa (Safaricom)
9.2 ZAP, Airtel Money
9.3 yuCash (Essar)
9.4 Orange Money
9.5 Other services
10. Mobile TV
11. Forecasts
11.1 Forecast mobile subscribers 2015; 2018
11.2 Notes on scenario forecasts
12. Related reports
Table 1 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Kenya 1999 - 2014
Table 2 Mobile subscribers by operator and annual change in Kenya December 2013
Table 3 Safaricom ARPU 2007 - 2013
Table 4 Zain Kenya ARPU 2006 - 2009
Table 5 Safaricom services revenue composition 2010 - 2013
Table 6 Forecast mobile subscribers 2015; 2018
Chart 1 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Kenya 1999-2014
Exhibit 1 Emergency rescue scheme for Lake Victoria
Exhibit 2 Texting elephants
Exhibit 3 Job offers by SMS

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