Kenya’s Internet users grow in Q2 as services go online amid COVID-19 pandemic

An employee uses a Nokia 1200 mobile phone inside an M-Pesa store in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday, April 14, 2013. In the six years since Kenya's M-Pesa brought banking-by-phone to Africa, the service has grown from a novelty to a bona fide payment network. Photographer: Trevor Snapp/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An employee uses a Nokia 1200 mobile phone inside an M-Pesa store in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday, April 14, 2013. In the six years since Kenya’s M-Pesa brought banking-by-phone to Africa, the service has grown from a novelty to a bona fide payment network. Photographer: Trevor Snapp/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Internet subscriptions in Kenya rose about 5.1 percent between April and June as demand for the service surged amid stay-at-home measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Subscriptions increased to 40.9 million in the quarter ending June from 38.9 million in the period ending March, latest industry report from the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) released Friday shows.

The regulator attributed the rise to increased demand for access to information online, coupled with transfer of more services to the digital space during the pandemic period.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers continue to adopt video-conferencing services as they work from home, access online entertainment and streaming video-on-demand services,” says the CA.

Among those who pushed the rise in Internet subscriptions are students, who switched to online learning.

“Learners continue to access Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development e-content and lessons at home, as learning institutions remain closed across the country, as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic,” says the report.

While Internet access via mobile phone dominated, subscriptions on fiber-to-the-home/office registered the highest number of growth as Kenyans sought stable internet.

“Internet access has become a gateway to critical information, services and opportunities available to many people. The number of mobile Internet users will continue to grow due to an increased demand for access to information online as a result of the proliferation of digital service,” says the report.

During the period, the number of mobile subscriptions stood at 57 million, an increase from 55.2 million subscriptions registered in the previous quarter, notes the CA.