Kenyan mobile subscribers roaming-out voice traffic posted 35.8 million minutes, 30 million of which were to East African Community (EAC) countries in the three months between Jan-March 2016, a sector report shows. On the other hand, foreign subscriber roaming-in voice traffic registered a total of 27.3 million minutes during the period under review with EAC countries posting 23.3 million minutes.

The pattern of high traffic within EAC was observed in SMS and data segments, a trend that is mainly attributed to the One Network Area (ONA) initiative that saw the capping of the regional retail voice tariff to USD 0.10 per minute. In the ONA arrangement, both out-roamers and in-roamers are not charged for receiving calls while roaming across the four member countries of the Northern Corridor (Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Burundi).

Kenyans are also exhibiting a growing preference for over-the-top (OTT) applications such as Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, Viber, Snapchat and Skype among others. According to the Quarter Three Sector report by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), the growing trend is attributed to increased access to the Internet, increased affordability of data bundles and high use of social media,

The number of mobile subscribers continues on an upward trajectory, to stand at 38.3 million out of which 37.4 million access the Internet, pushing mobile and Internet penetration levels to 89.2 per cent and 87.3 per cent, respectively.

According to the Sector Report of January-March 2016, the number of text messages sent locally during the period dropped by 19.7 per cent to reach 6.5 billion down from 8.1 billion messages sent during the previous quarter.

The significant drop in SMS traffic attributed the popular use of Over-The-Top (OTT) services saw a dip in SMS sent within mobile networks 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.

The mobile telephone sub sector grew by 1.8 percent to reach 38.3 million up from 37.7 million subscriptions recorded during the previous quarter. The quarter also saw the launch of Sema Mobile Services, the second Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), in the market.

Even though there was a marginal drop in the local mobile voice traffic by 0.2 percent, Kenyans called more with each subscriber said to have called for an average of 93.2 minutes per month during the quarter up from 89.0 minutes recorded during the previous quarter. Mobile money transfer subscriptions were recorded at 24.8 million while the number of mobile money agents increased to 147,761, as the number of mobile commerce transactions reach 190.3 million with the volumes valued at Ksh. 312.0 billion.

The increased expansion of 3G services in the country seems to have paid off as seen in the massive use of mobile data/Internet services, with data/Internet subscriptions growing by 3.8 percent to reach 24.8 million in the quarter.

The number of domain names registered by the Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC) grew significantly by 13.percent by the end of the period under review to stand at 58,259 up from 51,548 domain names recorded in the previous quarter. No growth was observed in the broadcasting sector, as the postal and courier sub-sector saw a decline of 27 per cent in the number of letters posted locally. The full report can be accessed here

A majority of TV viewers in Kenya prefer more local content on their screens; even though the quality of such programmes is still a major concern, a survey by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows.

At the same time, over a half of TV and radio audiences feel the media is not doing enough in terms of morality, values and standards of behaviour.

The concerns are results of two surveys commissioned by the Authority as part of the implementation of the Programming Code that sets out standards for the time and manner of programmes to be broadcast by licensed broadcasters.

The Authority met stakeholders today to share the findings of the surveys as time runs out for broadcasters to adhere to the Code by end of June 2016.

The Local Content Baseline Survey sought to determine the proportion of local content aired by free-to-air (FTA) television broadcasters, identifying audience perceptions and attitudes towards local content. 

The study shows KBC leading in local content at 42 per cent ahead of KTN, K24, Citizen and NTV that have 38, 35, 33 and 31 per cent of programmes devoted to local content respectively. Much of the local content is music.

In emerging TV stations, the study noted that a common thread of lack of variety in programming, inconsistency, and repetition of programmes.

Addressing the stakeholders, the CA Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi, who was represented by the Director, Legal Services, Mr. John Omo, said there was no turning back on the Code, urging all broadcasters to comply within the stipulated time line.

‘‘The grace period agreed for the implementation of the Programming Code comes to an end in June. The Authority will from 1st July 2016, commence enforcement action against non-compliant licensees on the provisions of the Programming Code,’’ said Mr.Wangusi.

He added that with an increased demand for local content, it was contingent upon broadcasters to take the necessary measures to adhere with his requirement.

‘‘You will agree with me that content does not flow of its own accord; it needs owners or originators with the motivation to create, adapt or exchange it,’’ Mr.Wangusi challenged broadcasters.


According to the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), media houses especially in developing countries tend to find it easier to push ‘external’ content into local communities with efforts to distribute local content to global networks facing an uphill struggle
In terms of local content production, the study indicates that K24 produces 87 per cent of its local content in-house, followed by KTN at 85 per cent with KBC, NTV and Citizen having 78,70 and 56 per cent in house productions respectively. The rest of the content is independently produced.

On the other hand, the Good Taste and Decency Survey sought to gauge the current attitudes and perceptions of the Kenyan society on what constitutes good taste and decency in broadcasting.

The results of the study show that 66 per cent and 46 per cent of radio and TV audiences respectively agreed that they find offensive content being broadcast in the media with greater concerns being the ability of media to influence children who may easily imitate them.

A majority of the audience also indicated that call-in programmes are notorious for sexually explicit content, strong language, and intrusion into private lives.

Additionally, 69 per cent of those surveyed feel the broadcasters have a greater responsibility of protecting children against content that portray s sex and nudity as parental supervision may be lacking.

You can read the highlights of the reports here 

(L-R) Mr. Tarek Kamel,ICANN’s  Senior Advisor to the President & Vice President Government & IGOs engagement, Mr. Kris Senanu,  Chairman, Kenya Network Information Centre (KeNIC), Mr.Joe Mucheru,ICT Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Ngene Gituku,Chairman,Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), Ms. Sally Costerton, ICANN’S Senior Advisor to the President & Senior Vice President, Global Stakeholder Engagement ,Eng. Victor Kyalo, Principal Secretary for ICT & Innovation  ,Mr.Christopher Kemei,Director Licensing,Compliance and Standars at CA and  other ICANN officials during the launch of its first African Engagement Office in Nairobi.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has launched its first African Regional Engagement Office in Nairobi. The office is expected to support and increase ICANN’s institutional engagement and outreach in Africa, to better serve the region.

Kenya beat about five other countries to become the first African city to host ICANN. The country raced ahead of Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda, Egypt and Ethiopia to host the American based organization that is responsible for Internet governance. Nairobi was chosen by consensus across the African Internet community due to the tangible role it has played in the Internet ecosystem over the years.

Good cooperation and support from the Kenyan government, multi-stakeholder enthusiasm, exciting growth in ICTs in Kenya and the conducive ICT business environment are among the reasons why ICANN chose Kenya to host their first African Regional Engagement Office.

To reach another person on the Internet, you have to type an address in your computer – a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without coordination, there wouldn’t be one global Internet.

Speaking at the launch, ICT Cabinet Secretary Mr. Joe Mucheru, who was also the Chief Guest said that the government recognizes and supports efforts made by ICANN in ensuring the growth and development of the Internet. “Kenya has continued to work with regional bodies towards the growth of Internet use in Africa and we are glad to have ICANN make Nairobi its first engagement office for Africa,” said Mr. Mucheru.

“The establishment of the ICANN office in Nairobi rewards the efforts of the government, private sector and civil society who are keen on multi-stakeholder engagement.” Mr. Mucheru added. He said that ICANN is a community of the world and Africa has now fully become part of that community.

Mr. Ngene Gituku, Chairman of the Board of the Communications Authority of Kenya, said ICANN’s regional presence in Africa and its choice of Kenya is a big boost to the ICT sector and further re-asserts Kenya’s position as an ICT powerhouse. “As a regulator of the industry, we are delighted that Kenya has been chosen to take a front row seat in matters of Internet policy,” he said.

Senior Advisor to the President and Senior Vice President Global Stakeholder Engagement of ICANN, Sally Costerton, said Nairobi was chosen because Kenya understands the organization’s culture in multi-stakeholder process in which decisions are made by various players. “We are here to drive engagement and increase multi-stakeholder participation in Africa,” said Sally.
Other than Kenya, ICANN engagement offices are in Beijing, Brussels, Geneva, Montevideo, Seoul and Washington D.C. Its headquarters is in Los Angeles, with two operational hubs in Istanbul-Turkey and Singapore.