2013 Holiday Internet Plans for Mobile Kenyans



Christmas and New Year in Nairobi

Going on holiday doesn’t mean you go offline. With a simple 3G device modem, phone, tablet or Wi-Fi router, you can access internet everywhere you go for Skype calls, stream YouTube videos, work-just a bit and  take that much needed off from your busy schedules.

This Christmas and New Year, we have selected the best networks to stick to for an always-on internet connection in Kenya according to location or county. If you will stay in Nairobi this Christmas, you probably need not think about alternate internet solutions.

However, for those leaving the city to meet their families or go away on a Safari or down to the coast, you will need a reliable internet connection. We will look at a few ways you can remain connected even as you swim or play with your family on the beach. We will focus on mobile and won’t indicate prices and operator pricing plans but will look at signal strength strictly in this piece.

Majority of hotels in Kenya package their internet as another drink or service on their menu, so you will have to pay through the nose to get online; there’s no such thing as free Wi-Fi.

And though your smartphone might tether internet for everyone especially on a holiday setting, you wouldn’t like to miss a call because your daughter is streaming music or movies. So your phone or tablet won’t be an ideal device to ensure the whole family is connected. Whether it is a mobile wireless router or domino or whatever the name, network quality will determine if it will be useful during holidays or not.

A number of respondents we interviewed prefer Orange because of its affordable unlimited weekly and monthly packages; however it’s only good in Nairobi County and its environs. It’s crap anywhere else unless you live on 18th floor.

Majorly all operators have strong networks in Nairobi and there is a plethora of choices between Safaricom, Orange, Airtel and Zuku and the rest.



Christmas in Mombasa and its environs

Forget tech terminologies; select a mobile internet service that has nationwide network coverage. Cost might be a factor too, but it should not be before network coverage.

Airtel and Orange work in some places but banking on a Safaricom modem can ensure a nearly stable internet. Do not trust networks which promise CDMA connection but can’t even work in Nairobi surbubs. Orange has a funny CDMA modem which it says works just anywhere but don’t be fooled, it is as bogus as Nation Hela (Story for another time). Don’t let crappy internet ruin your holiday.

Chrismas in Nakuru, Naivasha, Kericho, Eldoret and Kitale

Safaricom, Orange and Airtel have shops in major counties in these regions with beautiful customer service ladies and handsome guys who will fix your modem, router or mobile phone.

Christmas in Bungoma, Kisumu, Busia, Malaba

Safaricom, Orange and Airtel work in most parts but from experience, Safaricom’s network coverage gives it a plus. These other service providers have excellent services but who wants to be offline in the middle of nowhere?

Summer-MobileChristmas in North Eastern Kenya-Wajir, Mandera, Lokichogio and other difficult regions

Safaricom modems and mobile phones will probably work as long you live near a hill; otherwise your god will help you.

Christmas out of the country

For those having their holidays out of the country, avoid data roaming like the plague; that email is not worth your year’s savings. Humbly buy yourself a new SIM pack and subscribe to that country’s data plans the moment you leave immigration offices.

In summary, in case you are in Nairobi, stick to your data provider and your normal data plans. If you are heading out of Nairobi, you’d better switch to a network like Safaricom which enjoys wider network coverage. For those flying out of the country, switch off your data and voice plans before take-off.