The Data Bundle Wars: Who’s the best of them all?

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The Internet Bundle Wars are here! It’s been a long time coming. Most of last year and a bit of this year, netizens were thriving on “Bundles Mwitu” the black market where bundles from God-knows-where were being hawked at throw-away prices. After the Safaricom kanjo cracked down on the bundles-mwitu hawkers, the mobile subscribers had no option but to fill the gap left. And fill the gap have they.

So, let’s break this down for you so that you can know who offers what and who the best bet is. As alphabetical order dictates, we shall start with Airtel.
For Sh.20 on Airtel 3.75G, you can get 100 Mbs to use for your daily needs, basically, an MB for Sh. 0.2. That also comes with 20 SMS to any network. That’s the best daily offer. If you are a nocturnal animal, you can still get 500 Mbs (Midnight to 6AM) for Sh. 20, i.e. get this Sh.0.04 per Mb. As far as 20 bob goes, across all 3 networks, this is the best bet.
We will get to the bigger bundles later on. For Orange, if your budget is on the lower side, any bundle from 20Mbs-500 Mbs goes for Sh.1 for 1Mb. Airtel is still the winner here.


Then for Safaricom, with their new rates and from this table, a student-sized budget will offer you a better deal than Orange, but just slightly. Comparing with Airtel, Safaricom gives you 100Mbs for the day plus 100 Mbs for the night and 100 SMS for 40 bob.
Courtesy of
Courtesy of

So, generally, for light browsing and low budget, Airtel takes the cake.
Now that your daily data is sorted by Airtel, Safaricom and Orange in that order, who comes tops when the medium-browsing category is looked at? This is between 500 Mbs-1GB.
Airtel gives you 500Mb at night for 20 bob. Again for night runners who need a Google Maps connection and night-time Skyping this is the best bet. Airtel offers 500 Mbs for Sh. 500 valid for 90 days. Orange offers 500 Mbs for Sh. 500 valid for 30 days. Safaricom offers 650 Mbs by day and 650 Mbs by night for Sh. 500 valid for 30 days. Clearly, that is where your money should go.
Airtel does not have the 1 GB bundle. Orange offers 1 GB for Sh. 750 valid for 30 days. Safaricom does not have the 1 Gb either. However, you can buy 1 GB for use between 10PM and 6AM for Sh. 300.
For heavy browsing, that is more than 1 GB, Airtel offers between 1.5GB and 20 GB. You get a 100% bonus on your bundle between Midnight and 6 AM. The bundles are valid for 4 months up-to 6 months. The longest validity periods around. Safaricom on the other hand offers a set bundle during the day and the same amount at night. E.g. you get 5GB for use between 6AM and 10PM and 5GB for 10PM to 6AM. The validity though is 30 days. The highest Orange bundle is 5GB at Sh. 2,750 which is bested by Safaricom’s at Sh.2,000. Airtel offers 3 GBs for Sh. 1,990.
For 8GB on Airtel, you get to pay Sh. 3,990. For Sh. 3,000 you get 10 GB from Safaricom. Here Safaricom wins.
For 20 GB on Airtel, you pay Sh. 7,990. For Sh. 5,750 you get 25 GB on Safaricom. Again, hands down Safaricom wins.
Only Safaricom offers more than 20 GB. Their 50GB package goes for Sh.6,750. By per-MB basis, this is the second cheapest bundle after Airtel’s 500 Mb for Sh.20 night-bundle.
Then we now have the Unlimited Bundles monster
Safaricom does not have an Unlimited Bundle offer. Orange and Airtel both have the services which work on a Fair-usage policy. Basically, you have a speed limit and a download size limit. You get better speeds when there are few users online and the vice versa.
For Airtel, you get Daily unlimited net for Sh. 50. This is how it works, you get 100 Mbs, 20 Minutes and 100 SMS limited. When your 100 Mbs run out you can still use Whatsapp. Intstagram, Twitter, Gmail and Instagram normally with speeds of upto 256kbps. Orange offers unlimited net without SMS and voice for Sh. 50. The speeds are however capped after some time. There are no details how their Unlimited operates. You can also get a better daily offer at Sh. 100
Orange offers weekly unlimited net for Sh. 250 whereas Airtel offers the same for Sh. 250 and Sh. 500. Works the same as the daily bundle does.
Orange offers monthly unlimited at Sh. 990 whereas Airtel has monthly unlimited at Sh. 1000 and Sh. 2000.
The verdict: If you use social media a lot, the the Airtel unlimited/Unliminet is the one for you. If you are browsing further than the social media sites, then Orange is the one for you. Airtel is cheaper and offers better speeds and additional benefits. Orange works best if you use your phone to browse on your computer. Both networks have a Fair usage policy so it’s unlimited net that starts the race like Bolt only to finish it like a slug.
That’s it, in the space of 2 weeks Orange has been dethroned as the premier mobile internet partner among many Kenyans. We can now only wonder whether they have something in store for us for them to take their crown back

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