We live in a global village. This is true for a lot of things in our modern life and at the center of it all, the internet. We rely on the web for almost everything, from keeping in touch with family and friends to keeping abreast with news and for entertainment.
Recent changes in policies aimed at improving and encouraging cross-border trade and interaction between the East African countries mean you are more likely to find yourself strolling well into the neighboring country with little restriction. So say you’re in Kenya for a short visit and you are not too keen on spending loads of cash in roaming charges, what data options do you have?
While there are a couple of telecom operators in the country, there are a few factors to consider before you make your choice. Safaricom is the biggest player with the largest market share and widest coverage. Their rates, both calls, and data aren’t that friendly though. Airtel is the second biggest player. Their data plans are rather affordable and their coverage is decent in major towns and cities. Telkom Kenya is the underdog. Really good data plans and calling rates but they fall short on overall coverage.
Airtel One Network
Airtel is a multinational telco available in 15 African countries. In an initiative dubbed One Network, Airtel subscribers in Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia get to travel freely across borders and effectively become subscribers of the destination country’s Airtel network.
They get to top up using the local recharge cards, enjoy local data and call rates and all other perks that come with being an Airtel subscriber. The terms of service for the Airtel One Network initiative are soon getting updated but in the meantime, if you are an Airtel Customer from any of the mentioned countries, sticking to your Airtel SIM while in Kenya could be your safest bet.
Also Read: Airtel One Network
In 2015, Airtel launched the UnlimiNet data plans, a service that allows you to stay online even after your data runs out. After depleting your allocated bundles, your speed would be limited to 256kbps. For most internet needs, except say video streaming, this is more than enough.
On top of that, you still get full speed on popular sites like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter. There are airtel-airtel minutes and free texts that accompany the said bundles but chances are you may not really need those as your contacts are back home. This could possibly be all you will ever need for your entire stay.
At first glance, these bundles by Telkom Kenya might not look like much compared to the competition. There is, however, no denying that the daily plans are more than generous. Most users go for the 1GB at Ksh.99 and considering that the competition changes up to 2.5 times that, this is an absolute bargain.
Telkom also gets a lot of things right if you happen to be staying in an area that is covered by their 3G or 4G network. Low latency and speeds faster than the competition easily earn this underdog a slot on this list. If you are a heavy user, Telkom bundles are your safest bet.
Safaricom Tunukiwa Bundles
Data is the hottest thing right now and big green wants a piece of the pie. In April 2017, Safaricom came up with Tunukiwa Bundles, a set of personalized daily offers for its subscribers. Fast forward a year later and the said promotion is still running and is quickly becoming the staple for Safaricom data users. They offer personalized discounts on texts, data and minutes with a few offers that cut across.
With the Tunukiwa bundles, you can get 1GB at Ksh 50, valid for 3 hours or Unlimited 4G for 3 hours for Ksh 100. These could come in handy if you have a data-intensive task that you need to be done within a few hours. Recently, the promotion started offering Unlimited 4G for 24 hours for Ksh 300.