Mobile transactions fall 30 pc in Q1 of 2019 as cyber security threats increase

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PHOTO/COURTESY: cio.co.ke

Mobile money transactions fell from 787 million registered in the last quarter of 2018 to 564 million in the first quarter of 2019 which translates to a 30 per cent dip according to a report from the Communications Authority of Kenya.

The 564 million transactions were valued at Ksh. 2.122 trillion shillings with consumers spending Ksh. 1.84 trillion to purchase goods and services while person to person transfers were valued at Ksh. 737 billion.

The 30 per cent drop- the largest recorded by service providers in recent years- was largely felt by telco giant Safaricom whose transactions on its mobile money platform M-Pesa fell from 616 million as of December 2018 to 404 million as of March 2019. This is despite the fact that the telco introduced its Fuliza overdraft facility that allows customers to pay for goods and services even if they lack enough funds to complete the transaction.

Data from the Communications Authority has similarly revealed that the number of SMSs sent within the networks fell by 14 per cent and 28 per cent between the second and third quarters of the 2018/2019 financial year respectively which was driven by a larger uptake of data dependent SMS services such as Whatsapp and Facebook in the periods under review. 

On the other hand, the country’s number of active mobile subscribers increased marginally to 51 million up from 49.5 million registered in the second quarter of 2018, according to the CA, with the country surpassing the 100 per cent mobile penetration mark.

“Penetration level of above 100 per cent is attributed to multiple SIM ownership by consumers whose aim is to take advantage of the competing voice and data plans offered by the various service providers,” the Communication Authority explained in part.

In terms of market share, Safaricom’s stake in the first three months of 2019 fell by 0.9 percent to stand at 62.4 per cent while Airtel gained 2.7 percentage points to post a market share of 26.1 per cent. On the other hand, Telkom’s stake in the market fell by 1.1 per cent to 7.9 per cent in the period under review down from nine per cent registered in the last quarter of 2019. Similarly, Finserve Africa Limited lost 0.8 percentage points to register a market share of 3.4 per cent while Mobile Pay Limited market share remained unchanged from last quarter at 0.2 per cent.

Cyber threats detected in the period under review on the other hand increased by 10.1 per cent to stand at 11.2million compared to 10.2 million recorded in the previous quarter. This translates to an increase of 10.1 per cent during the period and this is attributed to enhanced cyber threat detection systems and censors deployed by National KE-CIRT.

“In response to the cyber threats detected, the National KE-CIRT/CC issued 14,078cyber threat advisories to the affected organizations, which is an increase from the 12,138 issued during the previous period. The cyber threat detection capabilities of the National KE-CIRT/CC are supported by our systems as well as systems from global collaborating partners,” the CA report reads.

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