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Airtel Kenya’s 3G service goes live in Nairobi.

Well, this is treat! I just turned on my BlackBerry which happens to run on an Airtel Kenya line this morning and I was greeted with a 3G signal instead of the usual EDGE data connection. I only got back into the country over the weekend so this has just come to my attention. This makes Airtel Kenya the third mobile network in Kenya after Safaricom and more recently Orange Kenya to have 3G go live on their network. This would mean that only YU remains as the last network without 3G in the Kenyan market and I am sure they will need to respond soon as 3G becomes “de facto” for most mobile subscribers.

As far as I can tell, Airtel Kenya has NOT yet started a major marketing campaign around their 3G launch yet but this is sure to come soon. I also suspect that Airtel Kenya’s 3G network is possibly only live in Nairobi at the moment as I have not yet seen updates on social media from Mombasa or other cities or major towns where users are on as well. From what I have found online thus far, seems to me that the Airtel 3G service is actually fast, like really fast so can’t wait to give it a spin. However, its early days and even Orange Kenya’s 3G service, although launched nationwide, seems to be spotty from what I can tell.

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17 Comments

  1. Ngaruiya
    October 3, 2011 at 5:35 am — Reply

    Well, my Airtel line is still on Edge (no pun intended)

  2. October 3, 2011 at 5:36 am — Reply

    Unfortunately it seems that Airtel are destined to be behind Safaricom in all things… Safaricom are always FIRST and as Reis and Trout say Ït’s better to be first than it is to be different”.
    Airtel came a poor second place in per second billing (years ago) Money transfer (Mpesa will always be number 1) and now 3 G!!

    Airtel just can’t get their marketing right and a succession of name changes and brand repositioning stratergies have not helped them. Even though they seem to be much better priced than Safaricom, people seem to TRUST Safaricom more

    • BenAgoi
      February 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm — Reply

      Its not about TRUST; just take away M-PESA from Safaricom and probably a milliard loyal but captive folk will at last begin to exercise their gift of freedom of choice. May the the coolest, cost-effective service provider arise.

  3. October 3, 2011 at 6:44 am — Reply

    Airtel 3G Pilot live in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru and Naivasha

  4. October 3, 2011 at 7:43 am — Reply

    Wow this is good news. Great to hear that the 3G options are getting more and more in the market, makes life better and better for customers looking for good easy internet. Thanks for letting us know, time to reactivate that dormant Airtel line..

  5. October 3, 2011 at 9:25 am — Reply

    Super! At least now there will be some stiff competition in the mobile industry when it comes to data services provision.

  6. jairo
    October 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm — Reply

    embakasi hakuna kitu kama hiyo…i was there over the weekend, here in Mombasa it keeps disconnecting and or goes back to edge.

  7. Dennis
    October 7, 2011 at 6:04 pm — Reply

    I believe in Nairobi, the 3g is kinda Spotty.Ma buddie’s motorola quench still runs on edge,this is not the case as it was 3 months ago when they were testing 3G for several hours,at one instance we got speeds of up to 2mbps (250 KB/s),via his Moto Quench,even if the 3g is rolled out fully,i don’t think ma Q9h global will receive a hsdpa signal(may be if Airtel decides to multi-band themselves),since it receives 3g either on 850 or 1900 mhz,n in Kenya we use 2100 mhz.Fyi there 2 two versions of Q9h …euro/asian version (hsdpa 2100 mhz ..minus gps functionality) n american at&t version (hsdpa 850 n 1900 mhz + gps functionality) feature wise all is the same apart from the radio banding chip.For the guys who are @ coast what bands are you receiving hsdpa data on?or better yet for the blackberry dude,what bands does ur phone support?Excuse my curiosity.

  8. NIK
    October 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm — Reply

    ITS ALWAYS DISCONNECTING….ITS DISTURBING IN FACT!. I personally prefer the edge that was always connected.

  9. Dennis
    October 10, 2011 at 11:08 am — Reply

    I believe in Nairobi, the 3g is kinda Spotty.Ma Buddie’s Motorola quench still runs on edge,this is not the case as it was 3 months ago when they were testing 3G for several hours,at one instance we got speeds of up to 2mbps (250 KB/s),via his Moto Quench,even if the 3g is rolled out fully,i don’t think ma Q9h global will receive a hsdpa signal(may be if Airtel decides to multi-band themselves),since it receives 3g either on 850 or 1900 mhz,n in Kenya we use 2100 mhz.Fyi there 2 two versions of Q9h …Euro/Asian version (hsdpa 2100 mhz ..minus gps functionality) n American at&t version (hsdpa 850 n 1900 mhz + gps functionality)(as i said which i have… fortunately or unfortunately) feature wise all is the same apart from the radio banding chip.For the guys who are @ coast what bands are you receiving hsdpa data on,?or better yet for the blackberry dude,what bands does ur phone support?Excuse my curiosity.Thanx,n good day.

  10. October 10, 2011 at 12:03 pm — Reply

    For Airtels sake I hope the patchy service I’ve experienced in Nairobi is part of a pilot.

  11. October 10, 2011 at 7:51 pm — Reply

    I’ve experienced the 3g at Karen all the way to Rongai, that end seems covered.If you are using the modem, all you have to do is go to Tools > Options > Network and then change the network settings from GSM to WCDMA or from GSM to Hybrid, depending on the model. But Nik up there said it for me… the speeds are exciting after years of snailing around 20kbps or so but the constant disconnecting is very very very VERY irritating.Gives the user no peace at all…

  12. jairo
    October 31, 2011 at 11:36 am — Reply

    the best ever…i love it…try it

  13. November 5, 2011 at 10:24 am — Reply

    3G is not real for airtel as it is a pilot thing. The far it can reach is Rwaka, Uthiru.

  14. Cynic
    November 8, 2011 at 5:13 am — Reply

    This is airtel! They’re probably only good for the pilot.

  15. […] the 3g is rolled out fully,i don’t think ma Q9h global will receive a hsdpa signal(may be if Airtel decides to multi-band themselves),since it receives 3g either on 850 or 1900 mhz,n in Kenya we use […]

  16. December 28, 2011 at 8:36 am — Reply

    […] I digress. By the time Orange’s 3G went live, Airtel’s own had been spotted in the wild by many people in Nairobi and Mombasa. It even became semi-official and subscribers started buying […]

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