Fancy phone tech is overtaking Internet in Nairobi

Some ironic observations about how easy phones make things, and how behind the times Internet remains in Nairobi in 2011:
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  • I couldn’t check my gmail in a Nairobi restaurant with their wifi, but kindle works great (on Whispernet3G) for gmail and costs nothing.

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  • Skype (which is free over the Internet) can barely call the USA, but Safaricom now offers the same calling rate to USA as local calls in Kenya (3 ksh a minute, or 4 cents a minute).

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  • It’s cheaper to call USA on my phone (3 ksh per minute) than to text USA (10 ksh), but still cheaper than texting within USA.

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  • I just bought a $40 nokia phone that does photos and internet in Kenya, but I often can’t get on the internet on a laptop after I upload any pics or blog posts.

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  • The highest "high speed" internet available is 8 mb/sec. The minimum "broadband" in USA is 10mb/sec I believe. Above is a chart comparing various types of data connections, and Kenya barely makes it onto the bottom.
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5 thoughts on “Fancy phone tech is overtaking Internet in Nairobi

  1. We are yet to see any serious internet provider in Kenya. It is so frustrating because there are lots of us who want to do serious stuff online but the companies that claim to provide internet are just not doing it right. their products are hyped yet amount to nothing but a bunch of expensive and unreliable connections. we are told we have fibre but is it really helping us? Maybe it’s a policy issue or else I dont know why we are suffering this much.Be it as it may, there is a chance that the current providers are myopic in vision, only keen on reaping kenyans as much as they can because they think we are all ignorant. maybe its time those of us who depend on the internet for our livelihoods formed a revolution to name and shame this providers then push for better services whether by way of pushing the right policies or compeling the providers to behave, whichever is practical. Meanwhile for any investors out there, please there is a huge opportunity in kenya’s data platform. please consider it!!

  2. Kenya’s government only allocated 12% of the fiber for domestic use. The rest they’ll sell to neighboring countries at a surcharge. Safaricom SME is legit as an option for 7000 KES a month.

    Also – being in Rwanda today and having 22kbps instead of 1500 kbps, I’d like them to roll out fiber to the region faster for everyone’s sake.

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