We live in a more and more connected age. Even in our homes, we now consume more and more online media than ever before. Having a home internet solution is key to this. Fiber to the Home is the best way to go if you live in an area with such coverage. So what if you live away from the big cities where fiber is huge? What options do you have?
Telco’s that don’t exactly have the capacity to lay extensive fiber networks across neighborhoods are turning to their 4G networks to at least have a competing chance in this Home Internet market. In Kenya, the players that are trying to push for Home Internet include Faiba 4G, Telkom Kenya with their Home Plan packages and new entrant, Airtel Kenya with their Smart Home packages.
The newest player in the Home Internet space is Airtel Kenya with their new Smart Home router. The 4G router connects upto 32 devices and has an effective range of upto 20 metres. This should be more than adequate to serve a decent size home.
What are the available data packages on Airtel Smart Home?
|Home 2000||2,000||40 GB||30 Days|
|Home 3000||3,000||70 GB||30 Days|
|Home 4000||4,000||100 GB||30 Days|
The Airtel Wi-Fi router costs 7,499/= and comes bundled with 25GB free of charge.
Also important to note is that the Airtel Smart Home router only works on 4G LTE and none of the traditional legacy platforms like 3G and 2G.
With Telkom Kenya’s Home Plan, you can choose to purchase a Sim card on the home data plan if you already have a 4G router at home.
The MiFi goes for KES 4,999 with frequent but random discounts.
|Home Plan 999||999||10 GB||30 Days|
|Home Plan 1,999||1,999||25 GB||30 Days|
|Home Plan 2,999||2,999||40 GB||30 Days|
|Home Plan 3,999||3,999||Unlimited||30 Days|
|Home Plan 5,999||5,999||100GB||90 Days|
The youngest Telco in Kenya, Jamii Telecom’s Faiba 4G might not boast of wide coverage like the other 3 but they have legit come a long way since launch in late 2017. Kisumu, Eldoret, Nairobi, and Mombasa have respectable coverage, and that Faiba 4G operates on the 700MHz frequency that has better indoors service and wider coverage only goes to help Faiba’s case.
One huge downside however is that the list of devices capable of operating on Faiba 4G’s specific frequency is very limited. However, if you invest in a Faiba 4G router or Mi-Fi, their tariffs are rather reasonable.
|Bundle size||Bundle price (Kshs)||Bundle validity (days)|
Safaricom does offer Safaricom Home as their Fiber-to-the-Home solution and their coverage is slowly but steadily expanding. Their closest offer to these is their Safaricom BigBox which acts as a TV decoder with Android TV built in and a bunch of other services so this isn’t exactly a home internet solution.
In my opinion, the ideal Home Internet solution should be truly unlimited, no data caps, no Fair usage terms, just good ol’ internet in abundance. Only Fiber-to-the-Home offers this. These 4G-based home internet solutions while, convenient for those in areas where Fiber networks aren’t yet available, still have you worrying about bandwidth.
To be comfortable and not have to worry about your usage, you have to chip in a little more and at the end of the day, these solutions will still be more expensive compared to FTTH solutions. But until fiber networks are all over, these are the best options we have.