Kenya tops Africa in internet speeds

Kenya has won praise for having the fastest mobile Internet speeds in Africa.

The accolade has, however, been blighted by concerns that the cost of connectivity is preventing the majority of Kenyans from enjoying the benefits of faster browsing speeds.

The 2017 edition of State of the Internet Report indicates that Kenya currently leads on the continent with Internet speeds averaging 12.2Mbps for the first quarter of this year.

This has catapulted the county ahead of its sub-Saharan Africa peers, including South Africa (6.7Mbps), Morocco (5.2Mbps) and Nigeria (3.9Mbps).

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Kenya has further been ranked ahead of several developed countries, including Canada, the US and Sweden in terms of mobile Internet connectivity, with the country averaging 13.7 Mbps.

Eroded gains

With more than 90 per cent of users accessing the Internet through their mobile phones and smartphones becoming increasingly cheaper, Internet service providers have sought to increase their mobile offerings in a bid to tap into the lucrative market.

Last week, Telkom launched it’s 4G network across nine towns in the country, with the telco keen on attracting new subscribers with a Sh4,000 per month unlimited data plan targeting home and business users. This came hot on the heels of Safaricom’s 4G extended roll-out to different parts of the country amid a revamped strategy to deliver high speed fibre to homes through the newly created Safaricom Home Corporate Unit.

These gains are, however, eroded by the high cost of data with the Alliance for Affordable Internet indicating that Kenya lags behind countries like Mauritius, Sudan, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco in terms of Internet affordability. “A more accurate measure of Internet use is not based on counting the individual number of SIM cards purchased.”

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