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Airtel #UnlimiNET Demystified

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The evening of 25th August 2016 saw Nailab play host to Airtel Kenya, one of the leading telecommunications company in Kenya. The interactive session, facilitated by Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE), was aimed at getting consumer feedback on their Airtel #UnlimiNET experience as well as having the telecom share its future plans in matters tech related.

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The Airtel #UnlimiNET mobile data plan just marked a year and a half since its launch in February 2015. According to Matilda Kagume, Head of High Value Segment, the data plan has seen Airtel’s data segment grow by about 300% making it have the highest data penetration among telecoms in Kenya.

The Airtel #UnlimiNET bundle offers talk time, data and SMS across networks for as low as Ksh.20. The ’20 bob ni mob’ campaign launched in January this year seeks to connect even more users to the internet at affordable prices with Ksh.20 affording consumers 20Mb, 8min voice calls and 20SMS across all networks. An even greater perk of the UnlimiNET data plan is the free access to the ‘Big Four’ namely Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram even after exhaustion of the data bundle.

With the remarkable success in the data segment, Airtel is now looking to shift its focus to improving voice and SMS. This has seen the launch of reduced voice call plans with calls going for as low as Ksh.2 per minute across networks. They have also introduced the Kitaifa bundle that allows users to make international calls for as low as 5 cents per second.

In order to meet the set goals Airtel is investing in improving infrastructure and use of smartphones. This will see more regions receiving 3G coverage as opposed to the 5 currently covered. Moving to a lower 3G spectrum has also seen reduced fluctuations in the network. Introduction of the ‘Airtel sleek’ smartphone which costs Ksh.3500 ($35) will also ensure Kenyans have access to both affordable and quality smartphones and in the long run increased market penetration.

Airtel is also at the fore front of ensuring schools are connected to the internet to improve learning with their flagship program ‘Internet for Schools’ which also serves as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR). The program has so far seen over 100 under privileged schools connected to the internet by providing 5GB data on a monthly basis. Matilda affirms that even more schools are going to be enrolled into the program by the end of the year.

On the home front, Airtel has managed to provide reliable and affordable internet through their portable 3.75G Wi-Fi router that connects about 5 to 8 devices. The router offers speeds of up to 21Mbps with speeds of 1-3Mbps on data exhaustion. The router goes for Ksh.5000 ($50) which is a good bargain given the speed. The downside of the router is that it does not yet allow streaming. However, this is bound to change in the near future according to Joep Veheji, Head of data and devices.

Airtel is proving to be a force to reckon. They may soon become the leading telecom company in the country. From the conversation at Nailab it is evident that there is more in store for consumers and Airtel is definitely bound for Airtel #unlimited (UnlimiNET) success.

By Lilian Mutinda

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