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SMS services drop by 19.7 per cent as Kenyans turn to WhatsApp

By Standard Reporter | June 24th 2016

NAIROBI, KENYA: The reality of over the top services such as WhatsApp, Hangouts among others hit local mobile phone providers as Kenyans opted for the new services in sending messages.

Between the months of January and March, the number of SMS sent dropped by 19.7 per cent to reach 6.5 billion during the quarter down from 8.1 billion messages sent during the previous quarter.

“The significant drop of SMS traffic could be attributed to the popular use of Over-The-Top (OTT) services like WhatsApp, Hangouts, among others,” said a statement from the Communication Authority of Kenya.

“On-net SMS decreased from 7.6 billion posted during the last quarter to 6.0 billion messages during the quarter under review. On average, each subscriber sent 57 messages per month.”

WHATSAPP lets users send text messages, pictures, video and PDF files via its hugely-successful messenger. These can be forwarded within the app to other chat groups, or friends.

Since its discovery by Kenyans, many have resorted to it instead of the traditional SMS.

During the period under review mobile money transfer subscriptions reached 24.8 million while the number of mobile money agents grew to 147,761 compared to 141,542 agents recorded the previous quarter. The number of mobile commerce transactions stood at 190.3 million with the volumes valued at Sh. 312 billion.

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