It appears that Safaricom is testing wireless internet access points in the CBD. The carrier, which has gone a long way to roll out 4G in many parts of the country has also been selling fibre connectivity to households and businesses. At the moment, Safaricom’s FTTH product is the most used in the country, having cruised past the competition in Q3 2019.
The operator is yet to clarify the operational model of the new Wi-Fi zones. All we can gather is that the routers are placed in key spots such as the KENCOM bus stop. The zone looks fairly new, so it is likely that other areas of interest (read: places with a bunch of benches and high foot traffic) will follow.
If you think this arrangement sounds familiar, you are actually right. In June 2019, Telkom Kenya launched the same initiative with the Nairobi County Government and Meelin Media Limited. All parties promised to offer secure access to internet services to cut the connectivity gap. Telkom’s product is also free, but is supported by a large screen that displays sponsored content.
Safaricom’s, however, and as you might have expected, is not free. Users will be expected to browse and access online content for as little as KES 10. The pricing model matches that of the likes of Poa! internet that sells connectivity to low-cost parts of the city such as Kawangware.
We are certain Safaricom, with its huge budget, will publicize the solution as soon as possible. We just hope the service was free as is the case with Telkom’s, but that will be asking for too much from a carrier that has traditionally used its market gains to mint as much money from customers as possible.