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How Much Does Internet Cost in Kenya?

Airtel is better than Safaricom in the pricing of its monthly data plans and internet packages, making it a choice for heavy users

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There is no one-size-fits-all best internet service provider in Kenya, but there is always a best at anything: For one to be among the internet providers considered best, they must strike a balance between the prices of their plans (must be affordable), have a wide coverage area and strong network signals, reliable speeds, and should have high customer satisfaction ratings.

Statistics say there were 17.86 million internet users in Kenya at the start of 2023, representing an internet penetration rate of 32.7 percent, and most Kenyans use mobile devices to subscribe to and access internet services.

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And because many people use mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to connect to the internet, they do so by cellular networks powered by a SIM card, a subscriber identity module, put in those phones to enable mobile network.

Which SIM card is best for the internet?

In Kenya, the main mobile operator companies offering SIM cards are Safaricom, Airtel, and Telkom, but Safaricom SIM cards are the best because when it comes to staying connected, the quality of your network matters.

Safaricom is the nation’s most reliable and most awarded network, edging its competitors by staying steps ahead of tomorrow’s technology. It was the first telecommunication company in Kenya to introduce the 5G Network, the next generation of mobile technology providing a faster, more responsive, and overall better internet experience. Airtel was the second, and Telkom has not yet launched 5G.

Before choosing the best SIM card to purchase, register, and use for internet browsing, checking its coverage will save you from experiencing buffering caused by weak signals, and many people opt for Safaricom because it also has the widest coverage of other network types 4G and 3G than other telcos Airtel and Telkom guaranteeing a reliable service and powerful performance even in rural areas.

Airtel beats Safaricom in the pricing of its monthly data plans and internet packages, making it a choice for business users with heavy internet usage on gadgets like computers and laptops, which consume a lot of data.

However, Safaricom is on top because even though its monthly data plans are a bit expensive, its daily and hourly data bundles are the cheapest, customers can customize their needed internet bundles to fit their pockets and desired validity, and it has a specially tailored tariff called Safaricom Hook for youths under 24 through USSD code *555# to buy data bundles that have the lowest prices for endless surfing.

Safaricom vs Airtel internet bundle prices – 2024

Safaricom and Airtel

Safaricom and Airtel offer reliable internet plans in Kenya, but the prices can vary from customer to customer depending on airtime usage history and tariff. But there are some common plans;

Safaricom has a variety of cheaper daily and other internet packages you can choose from than other operators, Airtel and Telkom. Its daily data bundles start from Ksh5, while no data plan costs Ksh5 on Airtel SIMs or Telkom.

The cheapest plan on both Airtel and Telkom costs Ksh10 for 70MB, but though you get 50MB on Safaricom for this amount, you will receive 25 SMS on top of the data bundles to chat with friends and family who are not online.

Aah! Many people using Safaricom don’t even go for the daily data but for data deals on special internet packages like Tunukiwa on *444# with very friendly prices.

On Safaricom Tunukiwa, you get 0.5 GB or 500 MB, valid for 3 hours for Ksh20, and you can also buy this 500 MB, but expiring midnight, at Ksh30, unlike on Airtel where you get the same offer at Ksh50 but with 24-hour validity.

Ksh10 is a 1024 MB TikTok-only bundle for an hour or 150 MB of TikTok bundles for 24 hours. There are 5G ready 65 GB with 30-day validity for Ksh3,000 and 100 GB data of the same type and validity for Ksh5,000.

On Airtel, the prices of daily data 200 MB is Ksh20, 600 MB is Ksh50, and 2 GB is Ksh99, and it comes with free WhatsApp. Instead, Safaricom integrates its weekly bundles with free YouTube of up to 500 MB for each plan, 4 GB at Ksh500, 2GB at Ksh250, and 750 MB at Ksh100.

You can view more of Safaricom and Airtel data bundle offerings by dialing *544# and buying them to surf the net.

Why not Telkom?

Although Telkom Kenya has the most affordable plans amongst its rivals Safaricom and Airtel, for instance, a 5 GB data bundle would cost Ksh100 for 72 hours only on Friday up to Monday, its network quality is poor, prone to outages on weekdays and even weekends.

Moreover, when there is a power blackout, the Telkom network also faces the same, and it usually resets at midnight on the dot regardless of the outage time, hence unreliable.

This government telco has not yet deployed the transformational high-speed 5G network for streaming or posting without slowdown when connected, downloading movies in minutes or songs in seconds, and uninterrupted gaming, so it is better if you go for Safaricom or Airtel or use Wi-Fi.

How much is Wi-Fi payment per month in Kenya? (2024)

wifi connection in Kenya

These days, it is cheaper to get a Wi-Fi connection in Kenya thanks to the competition in the Internet business space brought by the rise of service companies providing home internet solutions.

Today, the median price for wireless high-speed Internet access using Wi-Fi is about Ksh1,500 per month, as charged by most Internet service providers in the country, allowing browsing at speeds of around 4 Mbps not exceeding 5, and without counting installation costs because some companies do it for free. Wi-Fi installation fees, included with a free one-month package, are Ksh3,500 on average.

For lightning speeds, you have to pay more for Wi-Fi connectivity, but this varies amongst access providers: For example, Liquid Home Fibre charges Ksh3,499 per month for 10 Mbps Wi-Fi internet, but Zuku Home Internet costs Ksh2,799 for similar 10 Mbps Wi-Fi with exact time usage.

Vilcom Networks charges Ksh9,499/month for 60 Mbps Wi-Fi, but Zuku users pay Ksh5,999 for the same product. A Wi-Fi with 25-30 Mbps download speeds costs roughly between Ksh5,000 and Ksh8,000 monthly in 2024 in Kenya.

Elsewhere, the monthly fees for Safaricom Wi-Fi range from Ksh2,999 for a 10 Mbps Bronze package for fast browsing, Internet surfing, social media, and email to Ksh12,499 for the Diamond package for watching 4K movies and TV shows, multiple device streaming, super-fast video downloads and more.

Moving on, the cost of buying Airtel 4G pocket Wi-Fi is Ksh2,500, and a Smartbox, connecting up to 32 people on Wi-Fi, is Ksh5,500 with free 10 GB of data. Afterward, you can purchase the Airtel Wi-Fi plans, starting at a monthly fee of Ksh500 for 6.5 GB to Ksh3,000 for 70 GB.

Telkom home plans are Ksh2,000 for 30 GB of Wi-Fi, Ksh3,000 for 50 GB, all monthly, and Ksh4,000 and 5,000 for unlimited internet for a month.

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JUSTUS KIPRONOhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Justus Kiprono is a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. He tracks Capital Markets and economic trends, infrastructure reform, government spending, and the financial impacts of state decision-making nationwide. You can reach him: [email protected]
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