Instant messaging to overtake texting says Jumia

Written By: O'brien Kimani

Instant messaging is expected to overtake texting in Kenya in the next three years driven by the growth of smartphones and low priced data.

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The latest study by Jumia Kenya indicates that 90 percent of Kenyans are now accessing internet through their smartphones, the highest rate in the world.

However, the cost of data remains high in Kenya according to the ecommerce site.

When it comes to sending a quick message, short message service or SMS has remained the king since the mobile revolution hit Kenya nearly two decades ago.

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In the last three years, Kenyans have been sending an average of 40 billion texts per year according to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

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However, with the advent of instant messaging like whatsapp, Wechat and BBM, the era of SMS appears to be drawing to an end.

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Jumia Kenya Managing Director Sam Chappate says Kenyans have embraced the use of smartphone more than other Africans with 90 percent of them using their phones to access the internet.

On the other hand, the cost of internet bundles is throwing spanner to the work.

It costs more to buy a megabyte in Kenya than in Tanzania which charges the lowest and Uganda. All the three mobile operators in Kenya are currently engaged in a major data wars.

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The operators are offering their customers daily bundle packages ranging from 20 to 500 SMSs for between 5 to 20 shillings.

Jumia Kenya further says the uptake of smartphones in Kenya continues to grow, with 50 percent of their total sales going to mobile phones.

The company plans to launch its mobile week from Sunday this week to attract more sales.


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