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4-Traders Homepage  >  Equities  >  NAIROBI STOCK EXCHANGE  >  Safaricom Limited    SCOM   KE1000001402

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Safaricom : Kenyans’ love for SMS soars despite vibrant social media use

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08/17/2017 | 01:26pm CEST

NAN-F-55 Kenyans Nairobi, Aug. 16, 2017 (Xinhua/NAN) Kenyans have clung onto SMS despite actively using web-based message apps that include WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.

The number of messages East African nation’s citizens send remained high about five years since social media craze hit the nation, as the love defies trends in other parts of the world.

Records shows that Kenyans send up to 13 billion text messages in three months, which is the latest figure from the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA).

This translates to about 400 messages per individual who owns a mobile phone in the East African nation as subscription stands at 39 million, the CA data for the period January to March indicated.

“The volume of SMS sent stood at 12.8 billion messages, a slight decline from the previous quarter’s which was 15 billion messages,’’ said the CA.

But the regulator attributed the drop to seasonal changes over the periods, where the quarter October to December experienced many busy activities like the Christmas holidays and long school holidays, which saw many people texting.

Nearly 95 per cent of the text-messages are sent on leading telecom Safaricom network with the other five sharing the rest.

Safaricom during the quarter under review recorded a total of 12.6 billion messages sent from its network.

Analysts cite a number of reasons as to why Kenyans have clung onto SMS even as the world shifts to social media and other forms of internet messaging.

Bernard Mwaso, of Edell IT Solutions in Nairobi, attributed the resilience of SMS to the promotions offered by the telecoms.

All the mobile phone operators in Kenya currently offer their customers daily bundle packages ranging from 20 to 500 SMS and go at between 0.05 U.S. dollars to 0.19 dollars.

“If one gets 500 SMS messages at 0.19 dollars, why would they not write text messages all daylong? This is what is making Kenyans to keep on texting because the service is too cheap, the cost nearly negligible as compared to social media where one has to buy internet bundles,’’ he said.

Normally, it costs 0.01 dollars to send a single text message, but with the packages, one sends SMS almost for free.

Mwaso further observed that the convenience of text messages made the service further more popular.

“You can send to anyone a text-message instantly regardless of whether they have a smart or dumb phone.

“This is not the case with social media where one has to have a smart phone to access the service. SMS therefore remains the most appealing way to send messages among the 39 million subscribers,’’ he said.

Appeal of text-messages has, therefore, made Kenyans embrace both the free message apps and the former.

“When I joined Facebook, I tried ignoring SMS because I thought the service has been overtaken by time but I failed.

“What drove me back to SMS were the bundles the telecoms offer. But now I use both the social media apps and SMS,’’ said a 25-year-old university student Hazel Lihanda.

However, as use of SMS soars amid social media use, the use of Multimedia Messages (MMS) has declined considerably, due to the free message apps.

It costs 0.10 dollars to send a single MMS, which is too high. (Xinhua/NAN) AIJ/AMY

Edited by Abigael Joshua/Abdullahi Yusuf

(c) 2017 News Agency of Nigeria Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info)., source Middle East & North African Newspapers

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