State of the Kenyan Mobile Web: October 2010.

Once again, Opera have released their latest State of the Mobile Web (SMW) report, and this time for October 2010. The latest SMW report has a broad range of usage statistics but, as always, what really interests me for this blog is the SMW for Kenya.

Since the last two reports, when Kenya had (initially) cracked the global top ten on the mobile web and even overtook Nigeria (albeit briefly). Since then, Kenya has lost a few positions and now sits in the top 20 which is still indicative of its leading mobile web credentials in Africa, and the rest of the world.  In addition, Nigeria raced back into the top ten where South Africa has always been present from the continent.

Opera Mini continues to gain global appeal as a leading mobile web browser and is now also available on Apple’s iPhone as well as Google Android powered handsets. Opera Mini is hugely popular since it compresses “heavy” web content on Opera’s servers before it delivering it to mobile handsets as “light” and mobile web friendly content. In some cases, as much 90% of data can be compressed meaning sites can be loaded quickly, even if they NOT mobile web optimized. In addition, another major upside is that data costs for end-users can be reduced significantly (this is especially important in markets like Kenya where 3G is not only costly but rare amongst the various mobile networks so bandwidth is indeed at a premium)

In terms of the latest SMW statistics for Kenya, what remains more or less constant is that mobile web page views per user are still the highest in Africa, ahead of South Africa and Nigeria.  This has grown to a formidable 651 page views per user per month which goes to reinforce that most popular of statements once made by Safaricom’s former CEO, Michael Joseph, that Kenyans have “peculiar” phone usage habits (in this case they love to browse the mobile web more than any other country in Africa!). Lastly, as expected, Nokia continued to dominate the top ten positions in terms of handsets being used with Opera Mini. I expect this to change significantly in a years time as Samsung, and other manufacturers start to gain more market share in Kenya (i.e. consider that there are now over 9 Google Android handsets in Kenya already and there are more coming)

Other Kenya SMW statistics indicate that year on year growth for October 2009/10 has exceeded 100% in almost all instances and variables. Kenyans (now) on average download 7 MB of data per month and Facebook is still the leading mobile web destination on Opera Mini. Once again, its great to see that Nation Mobile is still in the top ten mobile web sites in Kenya on Opera Mini at number ten, maintaining its status as the only local mobile web site listed.

Going forward, I am keen to see how the the Kenya SMW reports will look in a around a years time when both Airtel Kenya and Orange Kenya are expected to have launched their 3G services. Its also expected that Safaricom should have launched their 4G services by then, which could also heavily influence local Opera Mini mobile web usage, especially in urban Kenya.

Another factor in a years time could be the increased uptake of low-to-medium cost 3G smartphones in Kenya that are more capable than the current models of feature phones that largely have only GPRS or EDGE Internet connectivity. In a nutshell, the mobile web landscape in Kenya should continue to evolve. Below are the latest statistics which can also be viewed in the full October 2010 SMW report here>

Snapshot: Kenya

  • Page-view growth since October 2009: 175.4 %
  • Unique-user growth since October 2009: 117.3 %
  • Data transfer growth since October 2009: 159.7 %
  • Page views per user: 651
  • Data transferred per user (MB): 7
  • Data transferred per page view (KB): 10

Top 10 sites in Kenya (unique users)

  1. facebook.com
  2. google.com
  3. wikipedia.org (4)
  4. yahoo.com (3)
  5. youtube.com
  6. waptrick.com
  7. bbc.co.uk
  8. getjar.com
  9. my.opera.com
  10. nation.co.ke

Top handsets for October 2010

  1. Nokia 2330c
  2. Nokia 5130 XpressMusic
  3. Nokia 1680c
  4. Nokia 2700c
  5. Nokia 2680s
  6. Nokia 2600c
  7. Nokia 3110c
  8. Nokia 2730c
  9. Samsung SGH-E250
  10. Nokia 2630
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  1. Kamangu
    November 25, 2010 at 8:28 am — Reply

    I believe that Opera mini and to a lesser extent Opera mobile with turbo mode enabled will continue to be used extensively due to costs of internet on the mobile phone.

    Another thing is that 3G is not ubiquitous in even in Nairobi, thus even my friends who have iPhones prefer to use Opera mini rather than Safari to browse the net.

    Since I use Safaricom’s 3G dongle at home, I also use Opera with turbo mode enabled rather than firefox to save my data bundle.

    I find that Opera’s approach, which is different from other browser makers’ is the right approach for me here in Kenya.

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