The Communications Authority of Kenya has announced the release of a new mobile prefix of 01xxxx in addition to the pre-existing prefix of 07xxxx. The new prefix has already been made available to mobile operators and starts rolling out immediately.
According to the authority, 07xxx mobile numbering prefix series has been exhausted. The new release has been necessitated by an increasing demand for SIM Cards, mobile data, machine to machine (M2M) communications, and other emerging technologies leveraging mobile communication.
In a statement, the authority said:
“The introduction of the new mobile numbering prefix 01 is in line with National Numbering Plan developed in 2002 by Authority, in consultation with ICT industry operators, the public and other stakeholders…..According to the plan, each prefix provides for a capacity of I00 million numbers.”
Safaricom has already been issued with 2 million numbers and Airtel Kenya with 3 million numbers under the new prefix.
Increasing Demand for Mobile in Kenya
The announcement comes as no surprise. Recently, the authority announced that mobile penetration rose by 2.3 percentage points to hit 100.1 per cent. This increase has been attributed to most users owning more than one SIM card.
According to the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey (KIHBS), at-least 30 percent of mobile users in Kenya own more than one SIM card. This translates to about 1.3 SIM cards per subscriber.
The press release concludes by saying:
“The new prefix is expected to encourage more innovations and investments in the space, particularly with the proliferation of new technologies that are widening the horizon for new and innovative services.”
The new numbers will come at no cost to the consumers, according to the authority.