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STUDY: Kenyans are Texting More Than They Are Talking

The latest statistics reveals that Kenyans are texting more than they are calling. According to the data released by Communication Authority of Kenya (CA). The number of SMSs sent in the third quarter to March increased by 9.5 percent to 16.82 billion from 15.36 billion over a similar period of last year.

The data shows that the number of SMSs sent in the third quarter of this year marks a 157 percent jump over a similar period in 2016 compared to a 50 percent and 57 percent growth for voice and data respectively.

This marked a third-quarter growth in the SMS segment for a fifth straight year even as slumps were registered in voice traffic volumes and data subscriptions

“The number of short messages sent per subscription per month increased to 101.5 during the third quarter, from 95.4 messages sent last quarter,” the regulator said.

Between January and March alone CA recorded a 9.5 percent increase representing 16.82 billion from 15.36 Billion recorded over a similar period last year.

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This comes in a wake of global Covid 19 pandemic. Perhaps this can partly be attributed to the hash economic times thus forcing more Kenyans to look for a more cheaper and convenient way of communication.

Globally the trend seems the same across platforms. Global tech giants like Google, Facebook, Uber, Apple and Airbnb have also turned to SMSs to market their products. Globally, SMS traffic was projected to hit 2.5 trillion by mid-2020.

CA’s data further shows that mobile subscriptions also dropped 16 percent to 38.85 million in the three months to March from 46.46 million posted in a similar period last year as the cheaper SMS service became the preferred means of communication for individuals and businesses. And even with the less talk, Kenyans are calling more within the Airtel network than Safaricom and Telkom Kenya with the CA attributing it to the cheaper call rates.

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Talk Time

Talk time data on how Kenyans make calls have also shown some changes in the trends. Airtel subscribers spoke for an average of four minutes within the Airtel network  while Telkom subscribers spoke for an average of 1.8 minutes. Safaricom recorded the least amount of average talk time at 1.3 minutes.

“Safaricom PLC recorded the lowest duration of calls for both on-net and off-net calls due to the high calling rates charged by the operator both within and across networks,” CA said.

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