Why Kenyans Have Stopped Making Phone Calls -Report

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta on a phonecall in October, 2019.
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta on a phone call in October 2019.

The recent Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) report released on Thursday, June 23, indicates that Kenyans are making fewer voice calls.

In the report released by CA Director General, Ezra Chiloba, domestic mobile voice traffic fell from January to March as excise duty charges increased from 15 per cent to 20 per cent.

Data by the CA showed that domestic mobile voice traffic, both on-net and off-net, between January 1 and March 31 was reduced by 7.7 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

File image of a phone user perusing a gadget.
File image of a phone user perusing a gadget.

“This is mainly attributed to the conclusion of promotions that were running during the previous quarter,” the Communications Authority stated.

“Similarly, mobile to fixed traffic continued to dwindle owing to the declining number of fixed network subscriptions.” 

From January to March, mobile users spent 1.6 minutes on on-net calls and a minute on off-net calls on average. 

This was a decline compared to the previous quarter when they spent 1.7 minutes on on-net calls and 1.2 minutes on off-net calls, partly buoyed by promotional rates by telcos.

The situation has been prompted by the government's move to impose a higher tax through the Finance Act, 2020, in a bid to collect at least Ksh8 billion in extra revenues from telcos.

Data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) showed that airtime and call data tax collections fell by 19.8 per cent or Ksh7.4 billion last year due to reduced use following increased excise duty.

Due to the reviewed call and data charges, customers reduced the length of time spent talking on their phones.

At the same time, the report revealed that the CA had switched off 124,000 sim cards by end of March 2022.

Communications Authority of Keya (CA) Director General Ezra Chiloba,.jpg
Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General Ezra Chiloba.
Communications Authority of Kenya (CA)

The authority explained that 124,000 sim card owners failed to update their registration details in line with the SIM Card Registration Regulations 2015.

CA stated that the exercise was meant to ensure 100 per cent compliance with the SIM Card Registration Regulations, which, among other things, require operators to retain a copy of the identification documents of every subscriber.