Orange Kenya: My Experience

When it comes to mobile service providers in Kenya, Safaricom is the biggest and over the years has proved to be quite reliable. I’m a loyal customer, but when I got a dual-SIM phone ( A Samsung Galaxy Y Duos, which I will review later), I had a blank slot for an extra SIM card. After speaking to a few people, I decided to get an Orange line. I’ve used it for almost two weeks and I’ll write both the pros and cons of the network:

The Orange logo..

The Pros

Orange Money and Equity Account Linking

If you already have an Equity Bank Account, you can choose for the account to be linked to Orange Money. This means I can check my balance from my phone, do money transfers to all networks, top up my airtime from my bank account etc.

There is an Orange Money VISA card on offer, meaning you can use the card for payments as you would any debit VISA card, even if you don’t have a bank account.

Orange Data

So I have retained my Safaricom line for voice and SMS (I still use it for data occasionally), and settled on Orange data. Their 3G is pretty consistent, something Safaricom was beginning to suck at. Safaricom 3G was so intermittent, at times you could have 0 upload and 0 download speeds! So far with Orange it has been consistent, though some areas are still not covered with 3G and you have to switch to Edge even within Nairobi ( I was kind of deep in the heart of Eastlands then :-) )

Safaricom still has the widest 3G network in Kenya, but if you’re within Nairobi, you can be assured Orange has you covered.

Orange Internet Offers

I won’t say much but Orange has this 39bob unlimited internet per day, or weekly unlimited for Kshs 249… and other monthly unlimited offers. After a while, speeds decline when you have exhausted your fair allocation, but that should not deter you. I fear however, that they might cancel the ‘unlimited’ offer like Safaricom did.

Safaricom does have its offers too, but Orange is a bit cheaper. These offers for voice, data, sms, from telcos are many: Airtel, Yu, Safaricom, Orange. It would be fruitless to start analyzing which offers are better than the other. However, Yu still doesn’t have a 3G network so I wouldn’t consider it just yet.

i-Phone Dealer

Orange Kenya is the only network in Kenya that is authorized to provide mobile network service to iPhones. Not sure if they take advantage of this to market themselves though.

The iPhone from Orange

The Cons:

Customer Care

I don’t know who Orange have outsourced their customer care to, but it sounds like a small cubicle down River Road. It’s noisy and I can hear the other agents talking away and typing on their laptops.

Secondly, I think they need better training. While I’m used to the impeccable accents of Safaricom customer care center, you can hear the Orange agents stumbling through the words “Welcome to Orange customer care, how may I help you?”. It just doesn’t cut a very professional image.

I called about an Orange Money issue, and was told to call a toll-free number 1434 for inquiries. On calling that number, it rang about 5 times without a response and I was forced to hang up. It takes a while for them to respond on their twitter account, @OrangeKenya, and to solve your issues.

Is the Telkom Kenya Mentality Letting Orange Kenya down?

Most employees that Orange Kenya has were inherited from Telkom Kenya, back when it was a government parastatal. Some government workers are known to be lazy, under-worked and overpaid! Orange Kenya has been making losses these past two years, though the margin of loss has been dropping. Orange Kenya is still overstaffed though, and I think they’re still working on getting rid of a few more people despite massive retrenchments in the past.

Issues like fixing a landline, or a 3G sub-station that has been down for a while can take even months to fix!

So far, I’m enjoying my Orange data experience. Here’s to a peaceful co-existence with my Safaricom line.

  • Hillary

    Thanks for information, I was seriously thinking about taking up their offer for data I guess now I can give it a try.

    • savvykenya

      Try it and share your experience! #OrangeData

  • IAmMwenda

    can’t wait for the DUOD review. Funnny how i always find myself coming here on a ‘Friday’

    • savvykenya

      Hope you liked the Samsung android Duos review!

  • Anthony

    well that’s your experience, orange are beginning to suck on their internet speeds

    • savvykenya

      I’m still loving it, high speed 3G internet most times. It depends on where you are sometimes.. where are you?

  • Mackel9

    If they could capitalize on their data am sure they could get new migrants, after trying airtel and safaricom I think Orange so far has the best data offering even speeds, not just in theory or fancy ads…

    • savvykenya

      They should.. their data offers are good.

  • Kirembu

    I bought an Orange modem on May 29th mostly due to your review and also I was willing to try out something new.

    May 30th, I felt like I was betrayed; the Orange modem connection in my area sucked pretty bad but only during the day which was weird.
    I kind of overlooked the warning on this review — ” […]though some areas are still not covered with 3G and you have to switch to Edge even within Nairobi”

    After almost giving up on the modem, I called up customer care to rant. Which btw I agree with your take on it, though I kind of liked their “professional image” – or lack thereof. It’s nice to know I’m talking to a human being rather than a robot. Though non-formal can only go so far.

    All in all I’m pleased with my Orange modem, this is my second week on an unlimited data plan and it sure beats the hell out of worrying about data bundles when I’m streaming music and YouTube videos.

    Great post! I’ll be looking forward to more reviews.

  • Gad Yisrael

    Well said above about orange, only not true with ipad. Subscribed to the 30 day unlimited, but never successfully downloaded a youtube video, except of course when at their store paying for more bundles.
    Soo frustrating , more so when what is to me an investment, brings no profit.