ICT sector performance and local consumers

The uptake of digital services increased during the 2020 COVID-19 period, according to the Economic survey 2021. Information and communication sector real Gross Value Added rose by 4.8 percent in 2020.

Activities of teleworking, online learning, online video streaming and e-commerce increased across the country, and as a result, the uptake of digital tools went up significantly. In 2020, mobile cellular penetration grew by 15.1 to 126.15 percent subscription per 100 inhabitants.

The Internet-based and bandwidth intensive activities increased demand for high quality connectivity, while at the same time calling for digital reinforcement of a more inclusive approach to close the digital divide.

Teleworking, online learning, e-commerce and the potential risk of handling cash pushed more consumers to Internet services and digital payments as more reliable, efficient and safer modes of access to goods and services.

Total mobile money transfers increased from KSh4,346 billion to KSh5,214 billion in 2020. Total domestic mobile call traffic increased by 2.5 percent, from 58.7 billion minutes in 2019, to 60.3 billion minutes in 2020.

The Economic Survey 2021 further shows that total domestic traffic in- creased from 58.7 billion minutes in 2019, to 60.3 billion minutes in 2020, while international telephone traffic decreased from 1.1 billion minutes in 2019, to 1.0 billion minutes in 2020.

This was attributed to lockdowns that made physical movement difficult, while on the other hand, gave rise to the use of the mobile phone.

Coverage of the fourth generation (4G) network increased by 42 percent to 25,191 transceivers in the country, while the value of mobile commerce transactions increased by 20.0 percent to KSh9.4 trillion in 2020.

Similarly, Short Messaging Services (SMSs) sent grew from 65.3 billion in 2019, to 68.1 billion in 2020. Due to COVID-19, there has been a massive shift of businesses, leading to an up- surge in e-commerce, requiring automation to ease supply chains in the production and marketing.

Increased Cyber Security threats now require the sector to build safeguards. Over-the-Top (OTT) Services have also necessitated the development of regulatory frameworks to govern their operations. Institutionalisation of virtual space, as a platform for training and creating opportunities for talent promotion, is also gathering pace.

Data from the Communications Authority shows 59 million mobile phone devices were connected to mobile networks in the country for the quarter ending September 2021.

The quarterly sector statistics report, which is based on returns by mobile operators, show that 33 million were feature phones, while 26 million were smartphones, putting the penetration levels at 67.9 percent and 53.4 percent respectively.

The report, released in January 2022, but covering July-September 2021, also shows that the number of mobile money subscriptions reduced by 0.2 per cent to stand at 64.9 million, attributed to an increase in inactive SIM cards as a result of subscribers defaulting on mobile money loans.

The COVID-19 pandemic encouraged more consumers to adopt mobile money in purchasing goods and services. Consequently, there was a general uptake in merchant payments and deposits in 2021.

By September 2021, the total value of mobile money deposits stood at KSh1.1 trillion, while the value of person-to-person transfers stood at KSh1 trillion.

The mobile money penetration is now at 71 percent. The increasing demand and uptake of higher Internet speeds pushed the mobile broadband subscriptions by 0.53 per cent to 26.90 million by September 2021.

All 47 counties now have ICT road- maps that align with the National ICT Master plan and the local county development plans (CDPs).

Through the roadmaps, counties can the most cost-effective ICT-enabled services and resources to citizens.

They have also helped county governments to make ICT investments that are consistent with global best practice, and with the idea of shared services with the central Government and neighbouring county ICT infra- structure.

59M: Mobile phone devices connected to mobile networks in the country for the quarter ending September 2021, according to data from the Communications Authority


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