As the year started, we all never expected stuff to go south this fast or maybe even at all. It was a new year, a new decade. I mean, what could have gone wrong, right? Well, everything went wrong but clearly not for everyone.
As industries register losses across the country and even globally, some markets have been thriving in one way or another. The telecommunication sector, for example, has been registering growing numbers. This is mostly owed to the fact that Kenyans solely depend on their phones to communicate and interact with distant friends and family.
A new report by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows that everything had been going well even before we started registering COVID-19 cases in the country. Q1 2020 (January to March) saw a spike in voice and SMS traffic as well as internet usage across the market.
However, one sector that faced a decline was data and internet subscriptions. According to CA, the total data/internet subscriptions dropped by 0.7% to stand at 39.3 million from 39.6 million subscriptions reported in the previous quarter.
Interestingly, this decline was not exactly connected to the ongoing crisis. Instead, it is mainly attributed to the declining number of mobile data subscriptions posted by Telkom Kenya. The company has apparently been scaling down on operations and investments in anticipation of the Telkom-Airtel merger that has still never been made official.
The two firms were cleared for the merger late last year after months of investigation following allegations of corruption.
Safaricom’s mobile data subscriptions also declined during the period. Airtel, on the other hand, was the only firm that reported a rise in market share giving stiff competition to the leader, Safaricom PLC.
Airtel Kenya now stands at 25.8% market share accounting for a 0.7% gain from Q4 2019. Safaricom’s share is at 68.8%, which was once slightly above 70%, and Telkom Kenya at 5.8%, dropping by 0.4%. Equitel trailed down the list registering a 0.4% market share.
Hopefully, the numbers get to pick up once the merger is announced.