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Safaricom’s BAMBA (almost) Unlimited 3G Data Bundles.

In more Safaricom news this week, a fairly massive online and offline marketing campaign is running for what is being called “BAMBA Unlimited”. The promotion is basically a spin on Safaricom’s 3G bundles that are now a quasi-uncapped Internet service (depending on how you look at it).

The way that BAMBA Unlimited works is that you buy the usual Safaricom 3G bundles but you get unlimited Internet access for the rest of the month at different sub-3G speeds should you happen to finish the bundle before the end of the month. In addition, the higher the cost of the bundle you buy, the faster the out of bundle sub-3G speed you get for the month.

I can’t imagine anyone who has become accustomed to 3G Internet speeds being thrilled with BAMBA Unlimited when their bundle runs out before the end of the month but at least it does mean they can get online till their next top-up. In a nutshell, BAMBA Unlimited is really a half-way unlimited 3G offer from Safaricom and for those willing to accept sub-3G speeds (circa Kenya 2006), its better than nothing.

Safaricom’s BAMBA Unlimited bundles work as follows:

  • Kes. 999.00 bundle: 300mb data per month, 32kbps out of bundle.
  • Kes. 1,999.00 bundle: 700mb data per month, 64 kbps out of bundle
  • Kes. 2,999.00 bundle: 1GB data per month, 128kbps out of bundle.

NOTE: BAMBA Unlimited bundles are also only available on prepaid basis and valid for for 30 days only.

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35 Comments

  1. September 18, 2010 at 8:07 am — Reply

    Took a while for me to understand what these bundles really were, but safaricom just decided to offer a low speed bundle inorder to be in the competition…thats a raw deal, just to get in the small data users. 128 is such a low speed, considering it is still a shared bandwidth
    .-= Martin Gicheru´s last blog ..Did You Know That Paypal Works in Kenya =-.

  2. Kunule Imbayi
    September 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm — Reply

    You get the feeling that Kenyan Telecom companies are of the mindset that internet is for checking your Yahoo Mail and updating Facebook status. You are selling 300MB at 999 when guys are doing over 1GB a day. A lot of stuff is happening online, Kenyans are earning a living online, they are having interactions that are way above these sleazy caps. Until this changes, don’t bring out your champagne.

  3. September 19, 2010 at 4:04 am — Reply

    I am not a happy bunny.

    I saw a full page ad in the Nation for this Bamba Unlimited. In my excitement, I mistakenly read 32 kilobits per second as 32 kilobytes per second. So I downloaded a few updates and programs and exhausted my 300MB in a couple of hours.

    Interestingly, post 300MB speeds were still great… until I disconnected. Later, when I reconnected, I thought the modem was broken. I knew that the speed was now being throttled, but a page containing just a few photos was taking forever to render.

    I switched to the Safaricom Statistics tab and saw the speed hovering around 32 kilobits per second. I belatedly realized my mistake.

    The current speed is similar to what I experienced when I first went on the internet.. in 1996!

    Surfing at this speed is intolerable. I’ll just suffer until the month is over and then weigh my options.

    Hopefully increased competition will drive prices down, and speeds up.

  4. September 20, 2010 at 4:42 am — Reply

    I have been using the YU bundles and been seeing it work for me, I am going to try this 3G though where I am located there is no 3G network still on the HSPDA

    • JAIRO
      November 11, 2010 at 7:59 am — Reply

      man, like Kunule Imbayi said earlier on dont bring out your champagne yet, if you do you will regret…ngoja kwanza, its slow.

  5. Setsuna
    September 21, 2010 at 4:40 am — Reply

    It’s just not fair for safaricom to take us for fools. Do people really know how slow 128kbps is, and that’s the best out-of-bundle offer!!!
    Picture this: you spend Kshs: 3,000 to purchase the 1GB bundle. Assuming an average speed of 1000 kbps (best case scenario!!), it should take you approx. 1 hr 22 min to exhaust your bundle, that is, download a 1GB file.
    Afterwards, you drop to a speed of 128 kbps. Again, best case scenario of an average speed of 128 kbps, downloading a 1GB file will take you 18 hrs 38 min!!!! Kwani they outsource you to YU!

    Orange is the only network that, in my opinion, has decent unlimited internet with their 7 day offer. Assuming an average of 600 kbps, you could potentially download 57 GB worth of data in that week. Although it seems orange is trying to reduce their subscribers by making it difficult for people to access their network! It would be great if they reduced the price for that unlimited offer and/ or introduced a short period unlimited period like 2 days (the weekend) at a reasonable price say Kshs: 200!!

    Safaricom is clearly struggling with the definition of the word unlimited which by the way, their offer simply is not!!!

    • Kunule Imbayi
      September 22, 2010 at 6:03 am — Reply

      You are right about the Orange offer, have been using it for four months now and it serves me well. At 1K a week unlimited, it is better than Safcom’s theoretical offers. Only problem is a haphazard billing system (sometimes you are disconnected before you are due) and a clueless customer care.

  6. September 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm — Reply

    Safaricom are sharks, man… I am so sick of all this “unlimited” talk. What a rip off. I need to write a blog post roasting these guys. They should put a “*” after every time they use that word and then say “for some definitions of unlimited.”

    8 bob a day for 10 MB unlimited. 10 MB unlimited? WTF does that even mean!?!?!

    Oh wait, Access Kenya sucks too. And Orange ADSL is a waste of money. And there’s no Zuku in my neighborhood. Wacha niende ku top up halafu ninunue hiyo bundle ya 2,999. Maisha iko hivo.

    Kwenda huko, Safaricom.

  7. September 21, 2010 at 2:53 pm — Reply

    what safaricom are doing is really not good business. Claiming that it’s Unlimited Internet. 300mb is nowhere near unlimited and seeing it all over the web on Bambanet isn’t cool.
    .-= theonlinekenyan´s last blog ..Safaricom Unlimited Internet- A Scam! =-.

  8. Oindi
    September 22, 2010 at 11:35 am — Reply

    I think safaricom are selfish. Even the 3k you are paying for 1gig is expensive for a month of unlimited internet. Consider we are in 2010 where 1k should buy you unlimited monthly internet say at 1mbps. So what happens with the 128kbps after the 1gig runs out? On a computer running on software relesead 2009 and above that would be useless. Your windows background progs will chew about 60kbps. The other 60kbps? Won’t get you a thing. Remember GPRs gives you 256k (slow enough for even getting a 10mb driver). Technically there is no unlimited….Your internet ends with the 1gig.

  9. andy
    September 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm — Reply

    Okay this is how one safcom scam works.
    First, you’ll top up 50 20 250 whatever.
    Second you’ll text to subscribe to their 10mb deal
    Third you’ll get a vague response, “subscribe to unlimited internet”
    Fourth that’s not the actual confirmation sms but it’ll fool some
    Fifth here’s the scam. They will wait till your credit falls below 20 to then send you a confirmation sms. This is after you surfed
    Sixth your thinking why doesn’t this guy just wait?
    I do. Infact whole weeks at a time to no avail. But as soon as that credit falls below 20 bam. Confirmation text comes through.

    You might be thinking the delay is simply a technical glitch… it is, but other people i know have the same prob and we’ve complained. Safaricom does nothing. And why do you think. this ‘glith’ is benefiting safaricom. Millions of subscribers load up credit to surf at 0.8ksh but they are instead charged 8ksh and some wount even be aware, depending on how tech savy they are. In some cases the system will wait untill the subscriber exhaust their credit and then tell them it was unable to proccess the request. Load up another card my friend and you’ll be taken for another ride.
    The scam works because if the subscriber has to surf, they have to surf, they can’t wait two weeks or whatever. Some will be aware but what can they do. Other suckers will have been tripped up by that first ambiguous sms. Safaricom. Scammy scammy scammy.

  10. Andy
    September 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm — Reply

    this unlimited scam works because Kenyans can’t mentally quantify just what 300mb is. or the out of bundle speed means.

    or put it like this. one mp3 and you’ve finished 4mb already…
    unlimited…
    okay you don’t download mp3, but say you you tube. and safaricom advertise that on their posters by the way. provided your phone can access compressed streams you’ll incur 8mb to watch a good 10min clip. if it can’t you’ll incurr 30mb for just 5mins.
    unlimited…

    Facebook touch you don’t even wanna know. your better of using the basic one and provided you don’t go to other sites you’ll be okay. but don’t go through your friends photo galleries, after a few mins you’ll start racking up the mb like no tomorrow…. does all this sound unlimited?
    unlimited… think what this word should really mean.

    for those of you who have androids and iphone. we are screwed from the get go. our handsets need about 5megs just to keep them happy, unless you disable all smartphone functionality (?! wtf). if you want apps. androids will happily do 30mb a day easy. iphone there are individual apps at over 50mb…
    unlimited… 10mb unlimited?
    unlimited usually means something far different, to me any way

    oh and speeds. well take yourself back to 1999-2002. remember that experience?… ‘refresh’ your memory. if its taking forever ‘refresh’ your memory again or go grab a cup a joe.
    unlimited…

  11. Ngomongo
    September 24, 2010 at 4:07 am — Reply

    Safaricom is using gorilla tactics…i hate this..swindlers..why cant they just offer good service?

  12. Me
    September 24, 2010 at 2:13 pm — Reply

    Its still a raw deal I believe, Safaricoms main advantage in data is supposed to be the superfast 3g+, other networks have cheaper monthly unlimited offers.

  13. Me
    September 27, 2010 at 2:29 pm — Reply

    I Just found out that the actual speed for this offer are much higher that advertised. I tried the 300MB offer and when I had used up all the 300MB, I continued to surf at 128Kbps as opposed to the advertised 32Kbps.

    • edutchz
      October 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm — Reply

      The 128Kbps is just a short burst..the speed is not constantly 32Kbps though it swings from 32 to about 64 and some abrupt burst of up to 130kb/s though not constantly 128Kb/s as you put it.

  14. September 27, 2010 at 3:21 pm — Reply

    I think what we lack in Kenya is quality data delivery service and safaricom is not helping at all. EDGE is a very good speed if it can be constant rather than fluctuating. a quality EDGE connection will not have a zigzag frequency approach in the stats but a cool downspeed floating at a range of 236.8kbps or more rather than less. Safaricom’s 3.6Mbps is also another lazy zigzag frequency approach that will make a hole in your pocket. if YU will hear our call to stabilize its data services then Safaricom has no future in Telecommunication Industry in Kenya save for Mobile banking.

    We don’t want to check our e-mails and invite friends in facebook only, we want to make the internet our source of livelihood.

  15. Mzungu Nic
    September 27, 2010 at 5:22 pm — Reply

    Kenyans being ripped off by their own again.
    Here in England I pay £12 (1,500 KSH) per month (AOL) for unlimited broadband.
    Very fast speeds at all times, download speeds 380-400 Kbs.

    Safaricom are greedy, Kenyans deserve better!!

  16. ChipsFunga
    September 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm — Reply

    Why let uaself be jerked by suffericom? Instead of whining act, do something. Bright people have opened THEIR modems(legal BTW)and now use YU’s truly (sic)unlimited surfing.Trust me, I have a hard drive busting with torrents to prove it.
    Refuse to bow

  17. September 30, 2010 at 9:03 am — Reply

    why is everyone whining like they have been forced to use safaricoms services? leave if you dont like it. there are 3 other networks even though yu is owned by vodafone, there is still orange and zain. ask them why they dont have 3g.

  18. September 30, 2010 at 9:09 am — Reply

    @ mzungu nic is it cable or wimax?
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..Zune vs iPod =-.

  19. Sugaray
    October 1, 2010 at 7:01 am — Reply

    What a rip-off! I hope when the Communications Commission level the playing ground then safaricom will not have a field day. Imagine if all other networks could acquire 3G too! price wars would start and we would be surfing our way straight to the net. But now only one service provider has been left to monopolize the market and exploit its customers. I think safaricom have perfected the art of playing psychological games with its customers. They have taken advantage of the less-technologically-savvy (who are the majority) individuals who get into consuming products without carrying out proper research and evaluation. If guys were aware of their consumer rights (like in the developed world) then this trend would be in the past. Poor Kenyans! Even the government cannot intervene on our behalf yet they talk of making Kenya an ICT driven country. How realistic is that? Shame on safaricom

  20. October 7, 2010 at 9:50 pm — Reply

    I bought the bamba 999 offer n exhausted the 300mb in one evening.1 day later,im still surfing at reasonable speeds,even streaming youtube at times.However,this being safaricom,my wish is that there is no catch to this.What im looking for is a reliable data plan that will serve my needs as a system administrator who logs in to remote servers to see if all is fine&also for my online shop &entertainment like youtube.But i hear kencell-celtel-zain-airtel is rolling out 3g soon and they could come up with crazy offers like they did with voice..my fingers are crossed!

  21. Mercy
    October 8, 2010 at 10:12 am — Reply

    Safaricom may have reasonable speeds but of late their technical team seems to be overwhelmed. e.g. around 8th/9th Sept.2010 Safaricom had a technical problem that affected many data users (some victims may not have picked it up). I had just loaded 1GB & got confirmation to the effect that it was going to expire on 7th Dec.2010. Before a week was over I decided to check how I was using my data. I was shocked to get a reply that though I had over 900MB remaining, the expiry date was not Dec. but 15th Sept.2010. When I lauched complaint after complaint with unfulfilled promises to get back to me, amidst the now annoying standard/mundane customer service meant-to-be niceties, I was advised to buy some extra bundle to be using as I wait for the technical team to sort me out. This time I loaded 300MB. SHOCK: The 300MB registered alright to expire first week of Dec.2010, but there was no indication as to the position of my more than 900MB. The long & short of it is that Safaricom has stolen more than sh.2,000 from a good customer just because there is nothing I can do about it.
    Who knows whether some other customers have lost even more of their cash just because they have trusted Safaricom? For companies that use Safaricom modems, innocent employees could fall victim – whom would they convince that they don’t use this for their personal work (and overdoing it at that?)
    LOOK OUT – SAFARICOM IS NOT THAT EFFICIENT. INFACT THERE IS A CAREFREE ATTITUDE WITH THEIR TECHNICAL STAFF.

  22. edutchz
    October 13, 2010 at 3:29 pm — Reply

    I know am gonna sound strange but lets face it, at least this is an indication of a good start for safcom.

    Though you can’t do much of your data intensive activities with these throttled speeds like video chats n VOIP, with allot of patience you can “at least” get back your money’s worth which i have certainly done as of now.

    I purchased the BAMBA 300mb n exhausted it in 2 days..i now have about 2 days left b4 the 30days comes to an end and i have downloaded almost 2GB of data using the throttled speed. For once i just let my AV and Windows updates to eat all the bandwidth to their hearts content since i had no worry of exhausting any bundle.

    As for my normal browsing i used my EVDO modem from orange and with their new cheaper bundles (..150/= for 100MB, 250 for 200MB,…) i was quite impressed.

    So lets just say u can make good use of this unlimited speeds depending on what you use it for.

    NOW PICTURE THIS…
    If safcom came with a truly unlimited bundle that allowed you to browse at 3G speeds do you really think their network could handle the load???

    They tried it once some time back and at some point things got soo slow since everyone was downloading, so do realize that some constraints are just not to rip you off but that’s just how things can work out.

    • Me
      October 16, 2010 at 1:25 am — Reply

      I Use about 500MB per day on the 300MB Safcom Offer. Not to bad. Skype video works also but you cant do anything else when skyping.

  23. Milly Gichuru
    October 19, 2010 at 9:51 am — Reply

    I think safaricom is the biggest con! Before this unlimited con game, 1 GB went for just Kshs. 2,500. After the so called offer, it shoots to 3k, and a limit time of one month. What would you call this in another name??

  24. Andy
    October 26, 2010 at 3:54 am — Reply

    a flippin rip off!

    what makes people really angry is the lack of options. it’s a cartel of operators over charging and providing sub sub sub standard services all round. the cck is meant to step in here but this days it just stands there selling licences and nothing else.

    the only government response was a few harsh words from the assistant minister of information back in 2009. all the threats prooved to be toothless come March.

    operators especially safaricom have become untouchables in the country.

    anywhere else safaricoms use of the word unlimited would come under false advertising…

    cck are just asleep. period!

  25. November 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm — Reply

    I am not a happy man.One month ago I subscribed to the ‘Bamba Unlimited Internet’.I surfed the whole month and for once,I thought Safaricom was offering me good service.It turns out all that was a lie.Two days before the one month ended,the modem kept disconnecting and I figured out I had ran out of luck.I subscribed for the same offer again thinking everything would be fine for the second month.Let us just say I feel ‘violated’.The connection is painfully slow with gmail taking about 5 minutes to load.I do most of my business online so that means I use skype a lot,but right now that has been rendered impossible.

    Safaricom has proved to be the big ‘corporate liar’ who only advertises ‘good’ services to rake in customers and after that doing things that only leave a bad taste in their mouth.

    At first I thought I was the only one who was tricked but it turns out most of the people who subscribed to these services were duped too!How foolish of us to expect goos services from a company that has already disappointed us before!

    Even though my fight is with Safaricom,I also blame The CCK who for doing nothing to ensure customers are protected from bogus services from these white collar criminals.

    I look forward to seeing a ‘Zain Revolution’ in data services just like they did for voice services!

  26. November 30, 2010 at 5:50 am — Reply

    I don’t know much about the Internet technicalities but I wish Safaricom and the other providers would stop talking about bundles and use speeds as the determinant, say for 1000/= you get a constant speed of 512kbps per month, for 2000/= you get 1000kbps per month, etc. Now tell me about the new bundles offer that started this week to end on 2nd December, does it mean we forget about the ‘unlimited’ and go for 600MB bundles for 1000/=? If 300MB get finished in hours, then 600MB or so will just be for a day. I think we have had enough of bundles and enough is enough!

  27. Is the Bamba Unlimited offer finished?
    December 13, 2010 at 6:05 am — Reply

    I sent “1999” to “450” and got “You have successfully purchased PROMO1.5GB data bundle for KES 1999.0 expiring on …”

  28. Digz
    December 26, 2010 at 8:31 am — Reply

    Same here! Are the unlimited bundles over? They don’t seem
    to function as advertised for a month anymore! Now appears fixed
    amount of bandwidth then disconnection – and that is when sending
    the 450 way! What’s going on?

  29. Mzungu # 2
    February 18, 2011 at 1:59 am — Reply

    Like Mzungu Nic I don’t understand why Kenyans put up with such lousy service when the infrastructure in now in place. In the UK I get a very high ADSL download speed and about 500 KB upload, for a price of less than 2000 Ksh. That can only be cos it’s a more competitive market. The technology is much the same. Can someone pls explain – cos I don’t know any of this Bamba stuff – why, after reloading with 3000 plus having a little credit to spare, I did not get a full 1GB bundle and why it expires in a MONTH, with low access speeds? At first glance this seems a rip-off. If not, what is it? Also why is it so hard to reach the guilty at Safaricom customer service? I’m asking here because I can’t get through to them!

  30. ale byd
    May 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm — Reply

    saf r krazie bstards..3000 sh for 1GB data??? after 2hrs you goin down to 2G speed!!!!!!!!orange is the better option

  31. […] has launched a massive online campaign for this service. Just google “Safaricom Internet” […]

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