Key stakeholders in the Kenyan ICT market have come out to state that mobile penetration in Kenya stands at a mere 30% and not at 78%, as stated by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) latest sector statistics.
This was said by phone manufacturers, who faulted CCK for basing its calculations on the number of active SIM cards in the Kenyan mobile networks, yet majority of Kenyans have more than one SIM card.
“The mobile phone now serves as the PC for many people. If you clean up the multiple SIM cards and the multiple devices that one user holds, the real penetration is between 31 to 35 per cent,” said Nokia vice president for corporate relations in India, Middle East and Africa Jussi Hinkkanen.
Hinkkanen was speaking while expressing their disapproval of the proposed 16% VAT charge on mobile devices, saying that this will negatively affect the growth already achieved in the mobile sector.
The manufacturers said that the government should make a decision on the VAT Bill issue based on these ‘correct’ statistics, as this represents the true situation on the ground.
Kenyans are known to hold several SIM cards from different service providers, as they try to exploit the different tariffs on different networks. The market has seen the increase in dual SIM-card phones, as manufactures try to meet the market needs of these consumers.
The number of tablets and laptops has also increased in the recent past, something that has forced many people to hold more than one SIM card.
The VAT Bill is still awaiting presidential assent to become law.