Safaricom blinks & the Nairobi barcamp

Saasa for life
Safaricom has extended its’ Saasa tariff indefinitely (was due to expire on March 31) which has much cheaper calls and SMS’s from 2- 8 PM.

Celtel has come up with some much cheaper rates than Safaricom and many people (myself included) had been waiting to see what Safaricom would do to reign in customers considering a migration.

But for now, my priority has changed to searching for a wireless communication provider. At the Barcamp – the audience was asked how many had internet access at home – with only a fractional number saying ‘yes’ – because the costs are high. Next stop for me is to decide between Flashcom, Popote, Telkom Wireless, Celtel, KDN (Butterfly), Wananchi or Safaricom on a connection for a laptop. Another interesting option I read about but one which has to be discussed with the neighbors.

This was a great afternoon of interesting talks (interrupted by the Arsenal Liverpool game in between).

A notable point of discussion was the apparent disconnect between the business sector and the academia. With so many executives are taking parallel degree programmes on campus one would think they’d be an easy leap in mentoring and business incubation – but, no. A curious footnote was that audit/accounting firms like to hire engineering graduates (because of the analytical way they think) and many engineering students are disillusioned about their future prospects – something that will hopefully be corrected by an ongoing curriculum review.

– Most interesting was how (Edit University of Nairobi) JKUAT students created a local area network (was also done at Moi University)
– Proposal to have another Barcamp for content
Stockskenya (by network associates) with popular bulletin boards and fantasy trading game, with plans to enable online trading

Real estate investment
Bandari villas in Bombolulu (Mombasa) will be completed later this year. The 105 maisonettes and 56 apartments are being put up by the pension fund of the Kenya Ports Authority and are located 6 km from Mombasa and 1.5 km off the Mombasa Malindi highway

The houses are being marketed at local investors and Kenyan in the Diaspora and will be sold by Lloyd Masika agents [e-mail] at between 3.5 and 5 million shillings ($50,000 – 71,000)

– This appears to be another write-up of the houses and write up
– More on the cheqeured past of the KPA pension scheme.
– An update of real estate investments from the Diaspora

AY&R Group. Account directors, account managers, advertising creative teams, secretaries, graphic designers, graduate trainees, management accountant. Apply to AY& by 4/4
Brookside Dairies: country managers (Uganda and Tanzania), Sales Managers, chief accountant (Tz & Ug), accountants, sales supervisors, salesmen, merchandisers. Apply to by 15/4
Commercial Bank of Africa. Compliance unit manager, property manager, administration manager, management accountant, product development manager (personal banking), business development & projects manager (IT), Treasury sales. Apply to by 16/4
Africa Regional HR manager at Crown Agents. Apply to by 13/4
CEO at East African Grantmakers Association. Apply to by 23/4
Graduate trainees at East African Standard
Accountant at Kemri/CDC. Apply to by 13/4
K-Rep: branch managers, business development officers, bank clerks, system administrator, database administrator. Apply to chief HRO 25363-00100 by 13/4
KWAL: application systems supervisor, systems administrator by 12/4
Various jobs at Virgin Atlantic Nairobi. D/L is 6/4
World Vision – Sudan: internal auditor, ICT specialist (infrastructure), IT specialist (system administration). Apply to

19 thoughts on “Safaricom blinks & the Nairobi barcamp

  1. Alpha One

    Mr bankelele,
    This is an idea for some of your readers who may be looking for Startup VC funding. There is a great startup site known as “thefunded ” which can be a good starting place. One requires a referral to join, so if any of them are interested, they could request one from me.

    Disclosure: I have no vested interest in the above mentioned site, just passing useful information.

  2. Josiah

    Hi banks..

    just to clarify on the BarCamp post…

    the University dorm Network was done by JKUAT.

    Actually, Moi University guys started theirs about 2 years ago.

    JKUAT guys seemed to have taken theirs abit further – though that’s possibly due to the fact that their hostels are much closer together

  3. Anonymous

    “Most interesting was the University of Nairobi students created a local area network (was also done at Moi University)”

    can u shed more light on this im not sure if creating a LAN is that bif=g a deal-maybe i don’t get the picture

  4. coldtusker

    Anon – Yes, a big deal for Kenya…

    Bandari – Not a good investment for rental esp at high interest rates in the Kenyan market…

    BTW, Bankelele is just providing info not financial advice on the houses/apartments!

  5. Riyaz

    anon, the presentations will be up shortly so you can see … they didn’t just create a LAN – but a campus network linking all the dorms together. You’re talking hundreds of computers.

    impressive – they built is using cheap switches & “strings” basically 🙂 And even more impressive is how they go on to charge it with a prepaid system.

  6. bankelele

    Alpha One: Will check out “thefunded ” & hoping they have a local presence

    Josiah: Thanks for the clarification. Those guys should take it to estates & neighbourhoods next

    coldtusker: Agreed the LAN is a big achievement – the dorm connections were was set up and is operated by students. The uni’s provided the connection did not extend it to dorms.

    Bandari: Still, it’s a new house in Mombasa (albeit not on the beach) and compare that to Nyali houses that cost over Kshs. 20 million

    Riyaz: Thanks, will read up on what else I missed.

  7. dropmyload

    Since you are looking for internet connectivity at home, let me give you a rundown on services available, since I have tried them all and suffered!

    Telkom Jambonet dialup: just don’t waste your time! Always busy, drops you without warning. However, if ever you do get on, it is reasonably fast(in Kenyan terms).

    Flashcom: What happened there? I signed up when they launched, and it was super fast. But I started noticing many errors in the connection, and soon spamcop had listed Flashcom’s IP as an originator for spam…so could not send out emails. As the service got more popular, the speeds dropped. Still have the handset if anyone wants to buy it!

    Popote: Never used, but assuming is walking the same path as Flashcom

    Celtel: Now here is a serious connection!!!! Always available, very good speeds, no errors. But costs around 12/= per MB, so not so economical…however, I spent the whole of January surfing and my bill came to about 3000/= so not so bad.

    Safaricom: Not bad either!! Tends to get congested at peak hours and sometiems does not connect, but usually on, and fast. Same price as Celtel, but then, who said cheap is good?

    Butterfly: my laptop keeps picking this signal up randomly, I don’t think it works though

    Telkom Wireless: Don’t have the guts to try this one, since it has Telkom in its name!!!

    Wananchi: Have a partner who dials up through them, can rarely download any of his mail. So, I lent him my Flashcom (hahaha), and he loved it!!! Go figure!

  8. aegeus

    I had a few problems to resolve at work hence i missed BarCamp – will try and attend the next one though.

    I was on Safaricom GPRS for a while still am when i am on the move on my PDA. I took the plunge a few months ago and got the Africaonline Infininet wireless connection for my house. Apart from a few problems with their international link lately i am still enjoying their Infinet Lite connection. The catch though is 7pm to 7am access but you get 24 hour access on public holidays and weekends (Webmail is 24 hour access all days and you get 2 addresses). I have low signal level where i live so i place the unit in the verandah and i get a 90% to full signal and resultant brilliant speed. (at odd hours can average 30kbps accelerated which i find sufficient) Plan to share the connection with my neighbors as soon as i have fully tested the wi-fi stability and range in the apartment complex (6 houses total), and perhaps if i get support move to infinet Classic for 24 hour access. 4k a month is little money for the connection in my humble opinion. Drop me a line so that i can hook you up with a contact there – you may be able to wrangle a test period before deciding to sign on! mblink.n at gmail dotu com.

  9. Anonymous

    Telkom wireless did not impress me at all. The Celtel/Safaricom options are better

    Celtel and Safaricom GPRS don’t work well for me, but the Celtel Access 350 has no problem. It’s pricey though since they charge per second and not per MB.

    Despite the deterioration, Flashcom is still the most cost effective and resposive service I’ve used so far. I’m able to download 200MB files in a matter of hours.

    This is the first I’m hearing of Infininet. That’s something I’d like to try out.

  10. Josiah

    I’m also using infinet lite (look at ) and so far so Good. Speeds at night are ok, I’m to do some bandwidth/throughput tests to see if I’m actually getting a good link. 4000 a month is not bad at all.

    Hopefully with the new WB US$164.5 Million fund for Internet Connectivity in Kenya (also in Madagascar and Burundi) rates could become cheaper soon. (story is here – )

  11. bankelele

    dropmyload: Thanks very much for the summary which I would not have found by talking to any of their marketing teams

    aegeus: seems safricom, celtel lead the pack now. wil be in touch

    Josiah: 4k p.m. is stil pricey for mwananchi, esp. when you add a similar amount to safaricom. but I gues I’ll have to pay what the market offers or starve

    Wananchi Customer Service; Nice to see you’re reading

  12. Anonymous

    Costa Rica = SPAM ??

    @Wananchi >> Your website is so ugly… Anyway, no info, no price. I understand why you give a number !!

    How is TundaFiber, how fast it is and how much ??


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