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Comparing Data Prices Between Network Operators in East Africa

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Using our smartphones to surf the web is one of the basic functions we do everyday. In Africa where the majority are on prepaid plans, we rely on limited data packs that are either subscribed daily, weekly or monthly to connect to the Internet.

However, thanks to factors like taxation, competition, infrastructure, size of the market and more, data bundle pricing is quite different among countries. As Kenyans, we have an idea of what our operators charge for data bundles and we can access this information through USSD codes.

What if you were curious to know what people from countries in the East Africa region pay for data? Well we have you covered.

We will segment this under the different countries and the charges in different currencies will be converted into Kshs to level the playing field for an easy omparison.

Kenya

Data Package Safaricom (Kshs) Data Package Airtel (Kshs) Data Package Telkom (Kshs) Data Package JTL (Kshs)
7MB (daily) 5 8MB (daily) 5 25MB (daily) 10 1GB (daily) 50
15MB (daily) 10 40MB (daily) 10 80MB (daily) 20 8GB (weekly) 300
50MB (daily) 20 100MB (daily) 20 500MB (daily) 49 15GB (weekly) 500
150MB (daily) 50 400MB (daily) 50 2GB (daily) 99 25GB (monthly) 1000
500MB (daily) 99 2GB (daily) 99 40MB (weekly) 20 40GB (monthly) 2000
Giga 1GB (daily) 99 200MB (weekly) 50 150MB (weekly) 49 70GB (monthly) 3000
100 MB (weekly) 50 500MB (weekly) 100 400MB (weekly) 99 120GB (monthly) 4000
350 MB (weekly) 99 2GB (weekly) 250 2GB (weekly) 249 210GB 6000
1GB (weekly) 250 6GB (weekly) 500 1GB (monthly) 249 Kifaru (1GB daily) 1500 (monthly)
3GB (weekl) 500 1.5GB (monthly) 300 3GB (monthly) 499 Ndovu (2GB daily) 2500 (monthly)
10 GB 9weekly) 999 4GB (monthly) 500 10GB (monthly) 999 Simba (3GB daily) 4000 (monthly)
350MB (monthly) 250 10GB (monthly) 1000 20GB (monthly) 1999
2GB (monthly) 500 15GB (monthly) 1500 36GB (monthly) 2999
5GB (monthly) 1000 25GB (monthly) 2000 Night Owl 5GB (12AM-6AM) 39
15GB (monthly) 2000 40GB (monthly) 3000
25GB (monthly) 3000
6GB (90 days) 3500
16 GB (90 days) 6000
30GB (90 days) 9000

Tanzania

Data Package Vodacom (Kshs) Data Package Tigo (Kshs) Data Package Zantel (Kshs) Data Package Halotel (Kshs)
70MB (daily) 22 70MB (daily) 22 60MB (daily) 13 100 MB (daily) 22
200MB (daily) 45 200MB (daily) 44.5 150MB (daily) 22 200 MB (daily) 45
1GB (daily) 89 1GB (daily) 89 750MB (daily) 45 250MB (daily) 45
1GB (weekly) 89 500 MB (weekly) 134 1.2GB (daily) 89 500MB (daily) 67
2Gb (weekly) 357 2GB (weekly) 357 500MB (daily social) 22 1.2GB (daily) 89
10GB (weekly) 535 10GB (weekly) 669 700MB (weekly) 133 200MB (weekly) 45
500MB (monthly) 223 500MB (monthly) 223 1.2GB (weekly) 223 450MB (weekly) 89
2GB (monthly) 668 2GB (monthly) 669 2.5GB (weekly) 357 1GB (weekly high speed) 223
10GB (monthly) 1560 10GB (monthly) 1560 10GB (weekly) 535 1.5GB (weekly) 223
20GB (monthly) 2229 500MB (social) daily 45 1.2GB (weekly social) 45 3.5GB (weekly) 446
30GB (monthly) 4235 1GB (social) weekly 89 1.5GB (monthly) 446 13GB (weekly) 669
3GB (social) monthly 223 3GB (monthly) 669 700MB (monthly) 223
1GB (daily YouTube) 89 7GB (monthly) 1114 1.5GB (monthly) 446
14GB (monthly) 1560 3GB (monthly) 669
2.5GB (monthly social) 67 2GB (monthly high speed) 669
2GB (night pack) 67 6GB (monthly high speed) 1114
12GB (monthly) 1560
25GB (monthly) 2229
40GB (monthly) 4235

Uganda

Data Bundles MTN (Kshs) Data Bundles Airtel (Kshs) Data Bundles Africell (Kshs) Data Bundles UTL (Kshs)
15MB (daily) 7 15MB (daily) 7 20MB (daily) 7 10MB (daily) 5
40MB (daily) 14 40MB (daily) 14 50MB (daily) 14 25MB (daily) 10
100MB (daily) 27 100MB (daily) 27 120MB (daily) 27 50MB (daily) 16
300MB (daily) 55 300MB (daily) 55 320MB (daily) 55 100MB (dialy) 27
1GB (daily) 137 400MB daily (3 days) 82 600MB (daily) 88 100MB (weekly) 55
500B (weekly) 137 1GB daily (3 days) 137 900MB (daily) 123 500MB (monthly) 398
1.5GB (weekly) 274 100MB (weekly) 55 1.2GB (daily) 137 1GB (monthly) 768
5GB (weekly) 549 350MB (weekly) 96 1.5GB (daily) 178 3GB (monthly) 1784
25MB (monthly) 41 850MB (weekly) 274 2GB (daily) 239 5GB (monthly) 2744
300MB (monthly) 151 1GB (weekly) 192 3GB (daily) 329 10GB (monthly) 3156
600MB (monthly) 274 3GB (weekly) 412 50MB (weekly) 48
2GB (monthly) 549 5GB (weekly) 549 80MB (weekly) 69
10GB (monthly) 2058 25MB (monthly) 41 200MB (weekly) 151
30GB (monthly) 4116 300MB (monthly) 137 800MB (weekly) 600
Unlimited Internet (monthly) 9,056 1GB (monthly) 274 25MB (monthly) 40
Unlimited Internet Basic (monthly) 4912 1.25GB (monthly) 411 100MB (monthly) 120
Social Bundle (daily) 7/14 1.75GB (monthly) 549 125MB (monthly) 134
Social bundle (weekly) 69 5GB (monthly) 823 250MB (monthly) 268
Social bundle (monthly) 137 7GB (monthly) 1646 350MB (monthly) 370
15GB (monthly) 2881 500MB (monthly) 535
20GB (monthly) 2058 1GB (monthly) 947
25GB (monthly) 2469 1.5Gb (monthly) 1221
35GB (monthly) 6174 2GB (monthly) 1368
51GB (monthly) 4116 3GB (monthly) 1633
100GB (monthly) 15090 3.5GB (monthly) 2058
4GB (quarterly) 1070 5GB (monthly) 2442
10GB (quarterly) 2140 7GB (monthly) 2853
20GB (quarterly) 3567 10GB (monthly) 3426
85GB (quarterly) 12347 15GB (monthly) 5460
300GB (annually) 41157 20GB (monthly) 5762
30GB (monthly) 7817
40GB (monthly) 8643
50GB (monthly) 9055
80GB (monthly) 11798
100GB (monthly) 13170
1GB (quarterly) 1235
1.5GB (quarterly) 1372
2GB (quarterly) 1781
3GB (quarterly) 2126
5GB (quarterly) 3197
6.5GB (quarterly) 3540
10GB (quarterly) 4390
20GB (quarterly) 8231
30GB (quarterly) 10152
45GB (quarterly) 16463
30GB (bi-annually) 13719
100GB (annually) 24694
1GB (1 hour for a day) 137
1GB (12AM-6am) 69

Rwanda

Data Package MTN (Kshs) Data Package Airtel-Tigo (Kshs)
15MB (daily) 11 9.8MB (daily) 12
50MB (daily) 23 24.5MB (daily) 23
100MB (daily) 41 29.5MB (daily) 17
200MB (daily) 58 400MB (daily) 52
1GB (daily) 116 1.2GB (daily) 93
500MB (weekly) 116 300MB (weekly) 116
1.5GB (weekly) 232 5GB (weekly) 580
1GB daily for a week 580 3GB (monthly) 348
300MB (monthly) 116 30GB (monthly) 2436
1GB (monthly) 232
3GB (monthly) 580
10GB (monthly) 1160
30GB (monthly) 2900
1GB daily (monthly) 2436
2GB daily (monthly) 2900
3GB daily (monthly) 3480

Comparison

This massive comparison shows very interesting similarities and disparities across the region.

Generally, the variances are smaller than you thought. I was expecting huge descripancies in pricing between operators in the region, but the differences are small.

Also, the notion that Kenyans pay more for Internet is now out of the question. Thanks to the increased competiion in the market, Kenyans are now getting more data for the same price, which is great for the Internet savvy generation.

We’ve now managed to reach the price levels Tanzanians have been enjoying for a while now. For example, you can pay Kshs 99 for 1GB daily on Safaricom which is comparable to the Kshs 89 you pay for the same bundle on Vodacom in Tanzania. For the same bundle pricing, MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda will charge you Kshs 137 and MTN Rwanda will charge you Kshs 116.

The other interesting bit is how similar the bundle packages are. You will find daily data bundles, weekly data bundles and monthly data bundles in each of the 4 countries. Operators in other countries go further by offering quarterly bundles (Kenya and Uganda) and some go as far as offering you 6 month or yearly data bundles (Airtel Uganda).

Ugandan telcos have the most diverse data bundle pricing when compared to other East African countries. You will find data bundles of all types and with different limits. Africell Uganda is the best case study candidate for this as you can get data bundles ranging from 20MB daily all the way to 100GB annually, the most diverse list among the telcos in the region.

Some telcos in the region also have a ‘social bundle’ which is geared for social media use. MTN Uganda and Vodacom Tanzania have these special bundles as offerings. In Kenya, we do have these special bundles for social media use, but they are usually targeted for WhatsApp and are not included in this list. Some of these WhatsApp bundles offer free WhatsApp when you purchase the bundle while other telcos offer specific bundles for accessing WhatsApp.

The weirdest data packages are the daily ones offered by Rwanda’s Airtel-Tigo. There is a 9.8MB bundle, 24.5 MB and 29.5MB one. It is kind of weird that they are not whole numbers but the 400MB one for Kshs 52 daily is great.

Ugandans pay the most for data in East Africa, comparatively of course and adding the fact that they need to pay a social media tax on top doesn’t help their case. In Kenya’s case, the taxes were incorporated into the pricing and for Tanzania, the taxes and licencing were targeted at people with online businesses.



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