Nairobi, Thika Start Enjoying Low-cost Internet After Facebook, Surf Partnership.

For the past one month now, residents of Nairobi, Thika, Kiambu, Limuru, Mlolongo, Kitengela and Ongata Rongai, have had access to Express Wi-Fi, a low-cost Internet offered by US tech giant Facebook in partnership with Surf, a local Internet service provider.

Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi is similar to the Google balloon powered Internet (Project Loon) intended to take the Internet rural, remote areas. The Express Wifi has a 10-day offer where users access 100MBs free daily package after which they are required to top up through recharge agents recruited in areas where it is available.

Its entry to the Kenyan market will surely be a shakeup and some reforms. For instance, Safaricom offers daily Internet bundles at Sh. 50 for 65mbs while Airtel and Orange offers 50mbs and 400mbs for the same amount, respectively.

Daily Internet bundles by Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi cost Sh. 10 for 40 megabyte (MB) and Sh20 for 100mb while weekly Express Wifi bundles cost Sh. 50 for 300mbs and Sh. 100 for 500mb.
Monthly bundles cost Sh. 200 for 1.25 gigabyte (GB) and Sh500 for 3 GB.

The table below show the exact contrast in internet charges between Express WI-FI and our local providers.

Express Wi-Fi
Daily (KES.20)
Weekly (KES.100)
Monthly (KES.500)

Surf Kenya CEO Mark Summer said in an interview with a local media house that the prices could change after official launch of the service.

“With Express WI-FI, we are working with carriers, Internet service providers, and local entrepreneurs to help expand connectivity to underserved locations around the world. Express WI-FI empowers local entrepreneurs to help provide quality Internet access to their neighbours and make a steady income. Working with local Internet service providers or mobile operators, they’re able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities,” said Facebook’s in a statement.

The tech giant says that they are using Internet access to drive economic opportunities and enable the free exchange of data and information, by ensuring that it is available, affordable and allows usage that promotes positive social and economic outcomes.

Facebook switched on its low-cost Internet in Nairobi and its environs about three weeks ago after previous launches in Uganda, Nigeria and India, stepping up competition for telecommunication firms which earn significant revenue from users of the social networking site. Its entry is likely to be met with a lot of opposition by local internet providers.

As a consumer, competition is good, it will ensure that I get the best internet at the best prices. Express Wi-Fi’s expansion to more areas in the country, will threaten Safaricom’s revenue from mobile data, if they maintain the status quo.
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