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Using a mobile phone in Kenya

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Level Contributor
225 posts
7 reviews
Using a mobile phone in Kenya

We are going on a honeymoon safari/ beach holiday in September and I'd like to know if I'll get signal on my mobile phone during our stay?

We're going to Nairobi - Meru - Mara - Mombassa. My parents are quite worried about us going so I'd like to be able to stay in touch with them but I'm not sure if and where we'll pick up phone signal.

I just need to to give them warning if I'm not going to be able to contact them for part of our stay - all advice welcome. Thanks in advance

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,446 posts
11. Re: Using a mobile phone in Kenya

...and it's still not possible to send or receive international MMS messages!!

Level Contributor
916 posts
71 reviews
12. Re: Using a mobile phone in Kenya

if you are using a contract phone just make sure your provider has turned on the international roaming.you only need this done once then wherever you go in the world the phone will automaticly change to the provider in that country but you will still only get billed by your own provider in uk.

Bay Area, California
Level Contributor
31 posts
4 reviews
13. Re: Using a mobile phone in Kenya

Regarding the recommendation to buy a local SIM at the airport the problem might be that you will not have the opportunity to "advertise" your number so that friends/family will know which number to get hold of you at.

I did a quick search on line and i have come up with this option: valuesphere.com/intouchsmartcards/smart_free…

The feature of this prepaid SIM card is that incoming calls are free and calls to UK and US are 39 cents/min and you get to have your number given early so that you can leave it with the people you want to stay in touch with.

I would be very interested to hear from people who might have used such a prepaid sim before.... esp this particular one.



Bungoma, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Kenya
Level Contributor
2,704 posts
2 reviews
14. Re: Using a mobile phone in Kenya

Since my last post, Telkom wireless and Orange coverage has increased a lot. The best thing to do is wait until July or August and decide then.

You should be able to get charges from the Websites www.orange.co.ke Also Zain and Safaricom. There is another one, which is new and hasn't yet reached Western Kenya!! There is hot competition between them all!! Getting hotter!

Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
Level Contributor
4,660 posts
9 reviews
15. Re: Using a mobile phone in Kenya

The answer is that if your mobile is on roaming you will get a signal most of the time. It can be annoyingly patchy or weak, but it basically works. However it's expensive to be on roaming (I even had to pay for incoming calls. . . !) and much better to take a cheap old unlocked mobile (the one you recently upgraded from) and pop in a local Zain or Safaricom SIM on arrival at one of the airport shops. Then text your nearest and dearest so they have your number. Simple, and very cheap. Top-ups range from about 20p to £10, with the more expensive ones giving you the cheaper per minute rates.

Bungoma, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Kenya
Level Contributor
2,704 posts
2 reviews
16. Re: Using a mobile phone in Kenya

Sorry - the special offer for Safaricom giving cheaper calls for more expensive top ups is now over!

17. Re: Using a mobile phone in Kenya

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