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Data more expensive in Kenya than TZ, Uganda

By Dominic Omondi | March 12th 2019
By Dominic Omondi | March 12th 2019
Only 13 million users are active online, majority of whom use the web to access social networking sites such as Facebook and WhatsApp. [Courtesy]

Most Kenyans are still not active online despite the country’s high mobile internet penetration, a new study shows.

The study by Jumia Kenya found that only a third of the 45 million on the cyberspace are active due to what the company said was the high cost of data in the country.

Only 13 million users are active online, with the most active being on social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter, according to the Kenya Mobile White Paper 2019 Report released yesterday.

Jumia Kenya Managing Director Sam Chappatte said at the launch in Nairobi prime internet is still not affordable, with Kenyans paying more for data than their peers in Uganda and Tanzania.

Mr Chappatte said there is an urgent need to bring down the cost of mobile internet as smartphones in Kenya are the gateway to the Internet.

Mobile internet appears to be the next battleground for the country’s main telecommunications providers who have been running stinging advertisements against each other.

Chappatte tipped the impending merger between Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya to bring prices down by increasing competition in the data market.

Kenya remains a leader in mobile internet in Africa, and also has one of the quality internet services in the region where most users have access to 3G and 4G networks.

For instance, 3G network coverage across the country increased from 67 per cent in 2014 to 85 per cent in 2017, with a bigger proliferation of 4G which now reaches more than a third of the population.

The cost of smartphones has also gone down, with Jumia saying that the average amount spent to purchase a smartphone on its platform reduced to Sh8,600 last year from Sh18,600 in 2014.

The country recently overtook Nigeria as the global leader in mobile internet, with mobile internet penetration standing at 83 per cent.

Jumia, an online marketplace, noted that 80 per cent of the transactions on their platform emanate from mobile phones rather than desktops. It is the same thing with payment, with over 70 per cent of payment done via mobile money.  “Companies need to optimise mobile phone use because Kenya is a mobile-first country,” said Chappatte.

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