How to Purchase Airtel Kenya Airtime from M-PESA for Free

Less than KES 100 worth of airtime purchases from M-PESA to Airtel are free. Other pay bills will charge a small fee.


The mobile telephony space has been growing if data from Kenya’s ICT regulator the Communications Authority (CA) is anything to go by. As of September 2019, there are 53.2 million mobile subscriptions in the country. Airtel Kenya, for instance, takes 13.1 million of the subscriptions. Safaricom, predictably, takes the crown with 34.5 million subscriptions, and these numbers can only grow in the future if we use past trends.

The same thing can be said for mobile money. Safaricom rules the market as its M-PESA financial product currently has 27.6 million subscriptions against Airtel’s 3.4 million. Safaricom has the upper hand in the space because it invested earlier, and managed to gain customers at a time when telcos were trying to hack the Kenyan market with varying approaches.

Purchase of airtime

Mobile money allows customers to do many things, including P2P transactions and airtime purchases.

However, buying airtime for other from one wallet to a different mobile operator has not always been straightforward. While the exercise is easy for mobile banking products, the competition in mobile money space made it hard to deploy a direct approach to allow cross-carrier airtime top-ups.

Solutions do exist, especially in cases where airtime is sourced from M-PESA to say Airtel Kenya. However, the transfers are subject to small fees for obvious reasons.

The convenience of a new pay bill number

Right now, you can buy airtime for your Airtel line from M-PESA via pay bill number 309028. This is a new number that has one advantage: it does not charge you for airtime transfers under KES 100. This is very good if your airtime purchases fall under 100 bob.

The buying process is simple:

  1. Go to your M-PESA menu
  2. Select Pay Bill option
  3. Enter business number 309028
  4. Enter Airtel number as account number
  5. Enter amount
  6. Enter PIN to authenticate

While you are here, check out Airtel’s revised data bundles and their prices.


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