- Zuku Internet offers more speed
- Zuku Internet has less cost for similar speed limit
- Zuku Internet offers *free* entertainment through the Zuku Pay TV channels lastly
- Zuku Internet comes with Wi-Fi extras.
At last I have the guts to ditch Safaricom Internet after realizing that I end up spending close to Shs 8000 a month on data bought at the rate of Shs 1000 for 1.5 GB data bundle that run out every four days. I know you’d advice me to try buying the 8 GB data bundle and most probably be able to save up to Shs 4000 on Internet as the 8 GB comes with 4 GB night shift bundle. This option is not desirable for reasons I outlined sometime back in the post Night Shift Bundles by Safaricom
My first attempt to ditch Safaricom was to buy Orange line in order to test their Internet against Safaricom’s in terms of speed, reliability and cost side by side but the nasty experiences I went through when trying to buy the Orange line forced me to remain in Safaricom for now – maybe Safaricom has some juju on me (remember I once said Safaricom must be using a juju of some sort) but this juju won’t work for long thanks to the discovery that there is an extremely cheap and more reliable Internet offerings out there.
After discovering that I spend outrageous amount of money on my monthly Internet demand, I set on a journey to search for a better alternative away from the cellular/mobile Internet service providers (don’t even think of Airtel’s Internet – I have tested it before and believe you me it’s the most crappy Internet out there – sorry, at least by 2012).What alternatives do we have away from cellular Internet before 4G lands here?
First there is the traditional Telkom DSL Internet but that’s old technology that gave me heart aches at least thrice a day between 2009 and 2010. In this day and age, it is important for a tech savvy to think in terms of 4G Internet for cellular connectivity and fibre Internet for fixed Internet so I narrowed down my search to fibre Internet providers given that 4G is still ages away – and that’s how I first landed to Faiba Internet – at least they have ingenuously advertised their offerings with the most creative animations so far.
I visited their website and headed straight to the residential offers. The Faiba Internet products for homes are listed as 5 Mbps, 10 Mbps, 15 Mbps, and 20 Mbps. Quite some good speeds up there, right? If you subscribe for 5 Mbps, then you are assured of seamless surfing, online shopping, social media and email for shs 5,000 a month. Is this not better than Safaricom?
Yes. Safaricom’s Internet speeds almost always range between 700 Kbps and 10 Mbps that average around 7 Mbps at off peak hours according to data obtained from speedtest.net, so basically Faiba’s 5 Mbps should compare closely to Safaricom’s offering but somehow at a lower cost since Faiba’s 5 Mbps is also unlimited. Faiba’s Internet would also be advantageous in that it has very few subscribers (slightly less than 3,000) to eat up the bandwidth compared to Safaricom’s millions of subscribers that eat up the 3G, and 2G bandwidths on its cellular network. But to exceed Safaricom’s offer, it would be better to register for the 10 Mbps that goes for Shs 10,000 a month. I stopped there.
Then I visited Liquid Telecom Limited but I couldn’t get any info on product range, pricing, and description so I moved to the next ISP which is Access Kenya and didn’t find what I was looking for in their website. In the list of ISPs there were names I haven’t heard of before such as Iway Africa, Mobile Telephony Networks, Call Key Networks and Tangerine Limited that were offering services mostly to corporate customers.
That left me with Wananchi Telecom Limited that controls the fixed Internet space. As of March 2014, Wananchi Telecom had a subscriber base of 44,254 subscribers according to data supplied by Communications Authority of Kenya (CA). This was out of a total 99,106 fixed Internet subscriptions hence Wanachi had a 44.7% market share followed by Liquid Telecom that had a market share of 17.8%. These figures made me pay a close attention to the Internet offering by Wanachi Telecom that offers their services under the Zuku brand.
I have always known that Zuku offers Internet under their Zuku Triple Play service where one is provided with a Zuku Cable TV, a Telephone handset and line, and Zuku Internet. In fact in 2012 I wanted to subscribe to this Triple Play service but the downside is that Zuku cable wasn’t available in Nakuru so I didn’t follow up. When browsing through Zuku website, I found out that Zuku cable had upgraded to Zuku fibre with better Zuku Internet offerings listed as 1 Mbps, 10M bps, 20 Mbps and 50 Mbps.
There is no need to discuss 1 Mbps as my speed requirement is well beyond 5 Mbps. It will suffice to say that the 1 Mbps doesn’t come with any extras but allows you to access 71 Zuku Pay TV channels for Shs 3,000 a month. If I were to run away from Safaricom and subscribe to the 1 Mbps Zuku Internet, I would compromise a bit on speed, save more than Shs 5,000 a month and in addition get *free* entertainment from Zuku Pay TV. Is the compromise worth it? No. I prefer to spend roughly the same amount but get more value for money so it is prudent to pay a close attention to the 10 Mbps Zuku Internet offering.
Zuku’s 10 Mbps is slightly better than Safaricom’s 7 Mbps speed wise. In addition, the 10 Mbps is unlimited, allows you to watch 101+ Zuku channels (actually all Zuku channels), provides you with free Zuku to Zuku calls and allows you to access free Wi-Fi across the country via the free Wi-Fi Zuku Internet hot spots. All of these value adds require you to part with Shs 4,300 ONLY each month (half of what I pay for Safaricom’s unreliable bundled Internet).
Compare the 10 Mbps Zuku Internet with he Faiba’s 10 Mbps. Faiba’s 10 Mbps wants you to part with shs 10,000 a month. It doesn’t give you any TV channels to watch, neither do you have a dedicated home telephone service. If you find yourself away from home, there are no courtesy of Faiba hot spots where you as Faiba customer can continue to access Internet for free.
Instead of opting for Faiba’s 10 Mbps for Shs 10,000 a month, it would be better to enroll for Zuku’s 20 Mbps that will not only provide you with all those listed additional benefits, but is also one shilling cheaper than Faiba’s 10 Mbps – that is, 20 Mbps Zuku’s Internet offers twice as much speed as Faiba’s 10 Mbps for the same amount of money plus other additional value adds – isn’t that incredible?
If you are lucky to be living in the selected areas where the 50 Mbps is available, then forget the 20 Mbps. For the same amount of money you would spend on the 20 Mbps, you will be able to access Zuku Internet at the speeds of 50 Mbps. The only small financial hitch you will need to worry about is the requirement that you’ll part with Shs 3,500 extra in one off installation fee. Zuku 50 Mbps is charged at Shs 7,500 to install while the rest are charged at Shs 4,000.
I want to emphasize that Zuku Internet offerings, except for the 1 Mbps, have extras in the form of free Internet access across various hot spots in Kenya. In their Zuku Wi-Fi portal they say,
Zuku Wifi is a value added service exclusive to Zuku Fiber customers that enables them to access wireless internet in over 300 hotspots around the country.
Currently, Zuku Internet fibre offerings are available in Nairobi and Mombasa and hopefully in the next few months (years?) they will be able to roll out across the country. If Zuku is also using Safaricom’s fibre Internet infrastructure, then it is possible for them to roll out across the country very soon as Safaricom’s fibre has gone to almost all major towns in the country.
So, am I joining Zuku’s Internet? Well there is one thing I would like Zuku to sort out first – the speed with which they respond to customers’ complains. I have information to the effect that if your Zuku TV or Internet is down, it may take up to three or more days before the problem is attended to. I am one person who is very particular to the quality of customer care service available.