Skip to main content

The trouble one goes through using Airtel Kenya's "3.75 G"


I've been hearing good things about Airtel's 3G network, that the speeds are good. I had also gotten tired of subscribing to Orange's Fair Usage Policy, where you purportedly get some unlimited Internet too, but you mostly get the policy.

Having misplaced my Airtel line, which happened to be my first ever mobile line, I decided to head off in search of one. I easily got a line at KSh. 30, which came loaded with KSh. 20 airtime. But that was the last easy thing I would do on Airtel.

Airtel 3.75 G users? Image: http://www.enidhi.net
Next, I got KSh. 3,000 of Airtel airtime. Being just before Christmas, this was me forfeiting half a goat and Christmas festivities for half my extended family.

I then proceeded to purchase Airtel 30 day unlimited Internet at about 8:30 pm.

I then discovered that I could not connect to the Internet, whichever settings I tried to use. Turns out that Airtel lines, just like Celtel and Zain lines, do not come provisioned with Internet.

One would think a simple call to customer care should sort you out. Of course, Airtel been the lesser congested network, you call to the customer care centre gets connected on the first try. Well, an hour later, I was still in line waiting for my call to be picked. And as you guessed it, my call might have been recorded for quality purposes.

Eventually, the call was picked, and I got Internet settings sent in a message to my phone. Again, I got no Internet.

Calling customer care again, and it was 45 minutes before my call was picked again. You know the drill here - take the line out of your phone, step back 10 metres away from it, wait for five minutes and then insert it and restart your phone. Nothing.

At about 11.30 pm. customer care picked my fifth attempt to call them, and again promised that they had fixed my line. That didn't work either.

I gave up at this point, and decided to call it a night.

The following morning, I called customer care again, and this time round, my line was actually provisioned, and connected to the Internet.

The 3.75 G experience 
Then it dawned on me that I could only get EDGE and not 3G. Taking a walk around the neighbourhood, and it was not until the next neighbourhood that signs of 3G did appear.

See, the problem with EDGE is that most calls are made over the 2G to 2.75G band. Mobile networks give priority to voice calls, which occupy more channels, meaning the Internet users on the remaining channels will not get to enjoy EDGE to the full.

Getting back to my place, I found out that I could get a 3G signal if I placed my device on the far corner of my house, close to the roof. This I did, and wired an extension to the corner, to ensure the device was powered on.

The Internet speeds were good, as my friends had said they would be. However, the connection would fluctuate on and off, with fractions of a minute with no connectivity. The speeds were good though.

The following day, however, I did not have Internet till evening, where it returned in its on and off form.

Next day, Airtel's 3.75 G was even more on and off, with longer off periods. Come next day and the connection was back to normal, and by normal, I mean connectivity with on -off periods.

The pattern has then repeated till several days ago. Speeds during the day remarkably slowed down, and picked up at night. Connectivity did remain on and off.

Well, while Airtel's unlimited Internet isn't as irritating as Orange Kenya's Fair Usage Policy, it still does have a long way to go from the 3, before it gets to the .75 . With only Airtel and Orange offering Unlimited Internet, Airtel does remain the lesser evil, but be warned.

Before subscribing to Airtel's unlimited, purchase the 50 MB bundle and check if you have good coverage and connectivity where you intend to use it,





Comments

Eryk Ellys said…
I've used Airtel's Internet on my smartphone. The on-and-off fluctuations were just so annoying. It was so frustrating, especially since I can be so impatient sometimes. If I had to choose between either Airtel's Unlimited internet or Orange's Unlimited Internet, I'm not sure which I'd choose. Perhaps using a modem for unlimited internet is better. However that comes with different costs and other expenses, usually high. I guess it depends on the place where one is & time when one often uses the internet (and maybe even the type of modem used)

Popular posts from this blog

Nairobi's Top 4 Texas Brisket Places Reviewed and Ranked

Brisket on a bed of roast vegetables with barbecue sauce at Texas Brisket, Kikuyu  This review has been updated after a number of you suggested I try the brisket at County2County.  What's the best place to have Brisket in Nairobi? What's even brisket?  Brisket is one of the toughest cuts in a cow, from around the belly. It is so tough that it has to be smoked for about 16 hours to tenderise. But that there, is the catch.  12 to 16 hours later, it is the most flavourful and softest cut you will ever have. So full of flavour and so soft you can pick it apart with your fingers.  However, due to the long cooking time involved, only a few places offer brisket in Nairobi.  The best so far is Texas Brisket which is located within Kikuyu Railway station.  They do the meat for a proper 16 hours, and will usually have a fatty or non-fatty portion. The fatty portions are more tasty. A 500 gram serving goes for KSh. 900 and a 1 KG order comes with a serving of free fries. Their brisket has

5 Kenyan Holiday Destinations in Turkana and Rift Valley

Much local holiday travel in Kenya involves going to the Coast. If not the Coast, most holidayers end up in Nanyuki or Naivasha. But what if you wanted to go somewhere else, what are the alternatives?  An interesting itinerary would be Lake Turkana, through the Kerio Valley and Kerio Escarpment. This is a trip doable both by public transport or as a self-drive. Given the distance, it takes at least 2 days by road - though it's manageable in one day if you have 2 drivers.  However, it would be more fun if you explored different destinations on your way up and back, which I'll highlight below.  1. Iten - Kerio Valley and Kerio Escarpment The Kerio Valley is a breathtaking valley within the Rift Valley, with the Elgeyo/ Kerio Escarpment forming one boundary of the Rift Valley and the Tugen Hills forming the other. The Tugen Hills are within the Rift Valley and one of the oldest features on the planet. The Kerio River flows in between falling over the esca

The bitter story of the downfall of Mumias Sugar company

A spoonful of sugar, but for who? ( Image: Carol Wallis on Flickr ) Have you heard the bitter story of Mumias Sugar? Regarded by many as Kenya's most successful sugar miller, Mumias Sugar Company was a disaster waiting to happen. Many pointed out how Mumias Sugar Company was a fortress in the wreck that is Kenya's sugar industry, only unaware that it was just a matter of time. As the old wise men said, "Ukiona cha mwenzako cha nyolewa, tia chako maji". The proverb means that if you see your neighbour's head getting shaved, your head will soon be undergoing the same - you'd therefore better wet your head for a smoother shave, otherwise you will be forced to undergo a painful, dry, shave. But what ails Kenya's sugar industry? The Kenya sugar industry is under legal siege. The typical Kenyan issue of coming up with laws to tackle a problem is evident here. Many of Kenya's sugar factories are owned by the government, and have slowly decline

Why we loved Mixcrate and Where to next?

With Mixcrate gone, lovers of music either have to pony up a fee for a variety of streaming services or head over to YouTube There are two types of music listeners: those who listen by artist or by album, and those who listen by top hits. The second lot of us do not care much about what other music made it to an album besides the top 2 hits. Mixcrate served the second lot of us very well. You could search for a song title or an artist, and you would have dozens of DJ mixes to choose from which contained more than the one hit you searched for. Listening to music on Mixcrate also meant that once you settled into a mix, you had uninterrupted music for the next one hour.

Kenyan products: The art of punishing your consumer

This post was written in 2011. Facts may have and indeed have changed - but the conclusion has not.  Dormans instant coffee tastes better than Sasini instant coffee. Ramtons electronics are manufactured for Kenya's Hypermart Limited, yet maintain a high product quality Peanut butter used to taste so good, but you could not afford it on the pocket money that you got back in school. A few years later, you have your first real job and your first "disposable" income. You buy your first real tub of peanut butter, probably the first in your life. You feel proud that Dominion peanut butter is manufactured in Ruiru, a town that you visited in your campus days to withdraw your pocket money, it was the nearest bank ATM to your campus.  This was before Equity bank became a mainstream bank and decided to open an ATM in your campus, and before M-Pesa meant that you