Kenya's telecommunications market continues to undergo considerable changes in the wake of increased competition, improved international connectivity, and rapid developments in the mobile market. The landing of four fibre-optic international submarine cables in recent years dramatically reduced the cost of phone calls and internet access, allowing internet services to be affordable to a far greater proportion of the population. In parallel, the sector's regulator has reduced interconnection tariffs and implemented a range of regulations aimed at developing further competition.
The incumbent fixed-line telco, Telkom Kenya, has been managed by Orange Group since 2007 but has struggled to make headway in the competitive market. The group sold its 70% interest in Telkom Kenya to Helios in November e2015, a move which may yet see the state increase its holding in the company to 40%.
A simplified and converged licensing regime introduced in 2008 has lowered the barriers to market entry and increased competition by allowing operators to offer any kind of service in a technology- and service-neutral regulatory framework. Numerous competitors are rolling out national and metropolitan fibre backbone networks and wireless access networks to deliver services to population centres across the country. Several fibre infrastructure sharing agreements have been forged, and the number of fibre broadband connections has broached 100,000, making it by far the fastest growing fixed-broadband platform.
Universal Service Fund to extend mobile coverage to underserved northern regions; telecom regulator loses certain powers to the Competition Authority of Kenya; Orange Group agrees to sell its holding in Telkom Kenya to Helios; merger and acquisition activity continuing among second-tier telcos; mobile operators enter the fibre market; report update includes the regulator's market data to December 2015, operator data to Q4 2015, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Telkom Kenya (Orange Kenya); Kenya Data Networks (KDN); Jamii Telecom; Access Kenya (Dimension Data); Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC); Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC); Wananchi; Safaricom; Bharti Airtel; MTN; Liquid Telecom.