In the Kenyan Tech-wagon transition(telephony)

Posted: October 22, 2010 in Admin

Reminiscing in my office doing some internet research, coding and tweeting, a thought just crossed my mind about how far Kenya has come technologically , what i have seen and done  while in this Kenyan tech-wagon. In a nutshell I would like to blog about a few things.


I remember them days, when it came to phone calls you had to get to a call box (the Telkom ones). They were positioned in strategic places where not everyone could access the box and if you managed to get to one you had to patient .The queues were not only long, you had to wait for guys who were waiting for calls (real calls and the then common reverse calls).This are times when one had no privacy whatsoever, call times were limited for the guys calling from offices using office phones there was fear of being fired for misuse of office phone which were for official calls only.

Cell phones

Then came Kencell (now Zain) and Safaricom this when sanity came I remember my Dad had this Nokia3310 going for KSH.15000 (I wonder if they are still being sold), a whooping KSH 15000 is an equivalent of a Smartphone ,here we are referring  a 3G enabled ,memory slot , Bluetooth  handset  with up to date features (you can get an androids and others regardless of the inflation and Kenya shilling loosing value).



I could tell guys how my dad had a Nokia 3310 and it was unbelievable I remember telling guys how I knew how to use ,dial and make calls (thanks it dint have Much ) ,I was seen as the lucky and cool guy amongst my peers.

Call rates

Buying and using a phone at that time was damn expensive, the least airtime to be purchased was KSH.250 which never lasted for any serious call(now there is bamba KSH5 which is enough) ,this the time when the  now Zain only targeted the cooperates (big fish) ,the small fish the kawaida guy was not considered ,I remember mostly the India-Kenyans  were synonymous with Kencell . Safaricom came in and targeted the kawaida person although there network coverage and quality was lousy at that time compared to Kencell. Safaricom got more subscribes (I wonder why Zain is complaining right now) and took over the market (If you snooze you loose big-time). This went on for some time and now Safaricom still the leaders but Zain being the cheapest thus preferable .I can now make calls at a cheaper rate without fear thanks to Zain call rate as low as KSH.1 and high as KSH.3.Not to forget the entrance of new providers YU and Orange hope they will catch up, this is possible if and only if they come up with innovative, affordable and competitive Kenyan products geared toward helping the consumers and developers.


Data speeds, rates and Charges have really changed compared to the past, the past I mean not long ago because when cell phones came in Kenya, I never saw a colored screen we used to call the terminals, GPRS and 3G were like riding in a UFO .Phones had WAP which I never understood its work .It never worked .Then came GPRS which fascinated most guys but we dint have local content and guys used it to download ringtones and wallpapers the immoral one would download porn clips. After GPRS came Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) or Enhanced GPRS this is faster guys could use them for surfing the internet, it is still being used by guys who are rigid this has evolved to 2G to 2.7G then 3G which all the networks have not fully implemented .Safaricom was first to roll 3G they have the best speeds compared to the rest ,the charges are higher good for anyone who want to do some serious thing without delays from the network .Overheard they are testing 4G but for anyone who is interested in poking a friend and checking some mail can use services from other providers nothing much can be done (you pay peanuts you get monkey)Orange has 3G it but only in Nairobi CBD .We need faster speeds at affordable prices .

Tumetoka mbali natunaenda mbali with competition, innovation/creativity, peace, economy growth, investors, Venture capitalist staring to finance Ideas and fiber optic cable much is expected in the near future am Positive we are in the right TechWagon.


  1. Marie Githinji says:

    we have come from far,i remember the first mobile phone bought in our house was a Nokia 3210 for ksh 16000,and a kencell line that cost ksh.2000.Mark you the whole family went to town for this,it was a big deal then 🙂

  2. Whooping Ksh16000 thats rent for a good house in town for real things change hope to acquire an ipad at the same price soon(dreaming)

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