Monday, September 17, 2007

Bambanet Application a Headache

Unfortunately I have to take back my laud of the new Internet connection product from Safaricom. Two weeks after my application and I am yet to get my Bambanet connection. Safaricom have really let me down on this one after promising that it would take a maximum of 48 hours. Hopefully I will have it by Wednesday as they've promised, let's wait and see.


coldtusker said...

Please let us know how the service works out.

I wonder what "real" speeds you will get as well as coverage.

Harry Karanja said...

Finally, I'm connected. Posting this comment now from home using the Bambanet connection. So far, so good ... the jury is still out however on the speeds.

Taruk Izamah said...

Hello Harry, could you keep us posted on your quality experience of this service? I am currently looking into the options of hooking up a childrens home @ Thika to the internet. The only viable option so far is GPRS for 30usd/month/250MB xfer, but this looks more promising. Thanks for your feedback!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog alot.
I have a simplew question.
Can you use the bambanet in trading forex?
I'll be glad for your answer.


Anonymous said...

I forgot to inform you that i was one of your scalp student and i have started trading live, this is my second week and i am impressed with the pips i am getting. I started with a very small account so that i can learn to control my emotions with real money.
So that is why i wanted to know whether the bambanet can be reliable in fx trading.

ngugimunji said...

lets talk time....assuming you don`t download anything,how much can you expect to pay after say an hour?

Harry Karanja said...

Hey Ngugimunji,

Are you using the term "downloading" strictly or referring only to files that are not viewable on the browser (exes, zips etc.)

Because strictly speaking any information coming through your browser is 'downloaded'; like this page you're viewing. So if you don't download anything (and also don't upload anything), you should pay nothing.

However if you were using download in the looser sense of only apps and archives, then you can spend anywhere between 20/- and 60/- (assuming a 10bob/MB rate) depending on how much of a clickaholic you are

majiqmud said...


... its so hard to get any straight word about the connection speeds with this service ... everybody is dodging the issue ...

what are the averages, best we can hope for startupkenya?

Harry Karanja said...

Hi thanks all for the interest you have shown in this post.

@majiq is right that the issue of speed has not been clearly brought out, but maybe it's because there's no yardstick to use; but let me try.

First technical. Bambanet comes with the ability to connect to three types of network signals: HSPDA, EDGE, and GPRS

HSPDA is the fastest and only available in some areas of Nairobi. Network speed is indicated as 3.2 Mbps but actual throughput will average about 25Kbps. Latency averages about 800 ms

EDGE is available almost everywhere else. Network Speed indicated as 236Kbps, actual throughput about 8 Kbps. Latency averages about 1600 ms.

GPRS is the slowest and I've experienced it in very remote areas . Network speed 53Kbps, throughput 1-3 Kbps, latency 2500 - 3500 ms

Now practially,

Bambanet has been very useful to me, let me list some of its benefits.

1. I'm not sure whether this is a policy change by Safaricom or a mistake but I'm never charged more than KSh. 2,000 even when I exceed 700 MB.

2. I can use Bambanet to trade forex.

3. Speeds improve greatly at night which is great because that's when I'm at home and I need the bambanet.

4. I can do most activities online that I would do with my office broadband connection (except for P2P sharing)

5. I can use Bambanet in Uganda and Tanzania kama kawaida!

6. Speeds are great in the suburbs, great news for those advocating for neighbourhood networks.

Hope this info helps.

Happy browsing.

Anonymous said...

please could someone using this device explain clearly how it works and the charges.

Harry Karanja said...

@ anon Feb 18.

Safaricom offers two payment options: prepaid and postpaid. Visit their website at for more information on the charges.

I personally use the postpaid option, and I paid KES 8,000 at setup and KES 2,000 every month thereafter.

The Bambanet service is a dial-up service. Safaricom provides you with a 3G modem which you connect to your computer through the USB port. The configuration is plug and play so any PC with Windows 98 onwards should be very simple to set up. When connected for the first time the modem installs software that allows you to easily connect to the internet, configure settings, and/or send SMSs

To connect to the Internet you dial-up to the Safaricom network by clicking a button on the software. Once connected you browse as usual.

Hope this helps.

A dogs life in Africa said...

I use 3G from the edge of the rift valley. Speeds are good and everything works - it's almost too good to be true. In fact, it is too good, here I am thinking I'll go out and enjoy the great outdoors, but no, hey the internet works in the bush, I'm fighting for time on my own PC with my son! Price - hey a musical bell went off then a text appeared warning me that I owed Safaricom 4,000. That sounds excessive but not compared to my dumb ass friends who are paid 17k for installation and 15 k per month subscription to wireless at home ...the only place they can take their laptop is to the loo, at least I can play on mine anywhere, anytime....

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about these. Well someday Ill create a blog to compete you! lolz.

Unknown said...

Hey People...
Does any one here know where I can get Zencafe in Nairobi or Kenya??
Have been looking around but guys dont seem to know about it !!

Benochali said...

Safaricom Bambanet is trully the most affordable internet connection available in Kenya.Am greatful they came up with the data bundles which is cheaper and more convenient to prepaid users.By just toping with regular scratch cards up and using,one is charged Ksh.8 per MB(uploads and downloads).Buying 300mb cost Ksh999,700mb cost Ksh 1999,2GB cost Ksh 3999.
To activate data bundles of your choice,send the word "ACTIVATE" to the following codes 300mb to 446,700mb to 447,1GB to 448.Top up with regular scrach cards.Am not such a heavy user so 700mb is just enough for me in one month.It is cheaper compared to most ISPs.

Harry Karanja said...

An update to my Bambanet experience.

Although I was an early believer to this service, I have made a permanent switch to Zain for the following two reasons:

1. Consitency: - The service from SCom although at times incredibly fast (if you're in Nairobi) is grossly inconsistent. Don't these guys get it, consistency over speed always.

2. Charging: - Safaricom's post-paid contracts are dreadful. First of all, the 2000 figure is charged per calendar month, whether or not you use the service, whether or not the service is even connected. This is the MOST shameful and unapologetic example of corporate greed. I mean, I stopped using the service after I was getting 7K bills per month and what do they do? They cut my connection and continue charging me 2k per month. Shame on you Safaricom

Zain on the other hand charges a flat 3K per month (pro ratad) with round the clock and consistent speeds. in fact nearly 100% of the many people i initially preached bambanet too, have now moved to the Zain connection.