Orange called a Press Conference for today morning saying that it was to lay out their business strategy and was to be headlined by Eddy Njoroge the chairman. So I thought that it was going to be the usual mumbo jumbo and decided to stay at home. 6am and I got to receive an SMS from someone that it was actually going to be a 3G launch.

First getting info about the launch was very hard. No one was tweeting nor keeping the social media crowd abreast with what was happening. I was going to meet some business partners at Sarit Centre and so I decided to get to test what Orange Kenya was offering. It is PATHETIC!! Haki ya Mungu. 

First the test could not even realise 128/256 Mbps. The network was on EDGE most of the time and when I did post the results on Twitter, everyone else claimed that they were getting the EDGE and not 3G. Orange announced that they launched a 21Mbps 3G network in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

What I found was that Orange also “launched some HD Voice devices.” I think that they were just copy pasting what Orange Uganda launched. A senior technical guy are Orange Kenya says that the operator is not ready to launch 3G and what it has is just a test network which is hardly available even in most parts of Nairobi.

Now these empty talks will not help the case of Orange Kenya because the 3G consumer is one smart consumer. You will not play with their mentality and they are just not your ordinary data consumer. We are waiting for real 3G from Orange. Please send us something which we can test and find working. I am in Buru Buru with an Android tablet and the network is still EDGE this evening.

Orange Kenya Press release

Orange has announced that it is firmly on course to take the pole position in the data market, with the launch of its new 21Mbps network.

Telkom Kenya CEO Mickael Ghossein said the new best-in-class network, with speeds of up to 21Mbps, will make it possible for mobile and computer-based users to derive maximum data value from Orange.

Ghossein said, “In line with our strategy, I can confirm that indeed a new internet era begins today –  that will be characterized by Orange steadily taking the lead in offering innovative products and services, providing simplicity through our customer experience while maintaining our value proposition to the customer.”

For the discerning mobile user, Orange unveiled another first for Kenya by introducing a range of HD Voice devices that would be readily available in all its stores countrywide. HD Voice capability enables customers to experience high definition voice calls on Orange.

As the true integrated operator, Orange has also unveiled a range of high speed internet devices for use across all consumer segments and announced a new data tariff structure that will see customers browse the net for as low as 0.40 cts per MB. In line with its simplicity proposition, the CEO also confirmed that these rates would be applicable across all its internet platforms.

Another first for the market was the launch of a 3G shared broadband WiFi router – Business Broadband which enables 6-10 users to connect to the internet at the same time, via the plug and play device.

Customers will also have the ability to manage and control internet abuse through the newly launched parental control software that can be downloaded free of charge from the Orange portal.

Orange, which currently has the highest number of wireless broadband subscribers, unveiled its 21 MB Internet Everywhere modem that would be retailing for Kshs 6,999/- at all Orange and partner shops countrywide. With the new speeds, Orange has positioned itself as the premium and reliable data services provider that will at the fore front in providing e-solutions

Ghossein said they will be using multiple pole technology on the service which separates voice and data channels, ensuring that the quality of data is not compromised when there are many subscribers using voice services.

The 21Mbps network service will initially be offered in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu with plans to open up services in other regions in the coming months, as demand for data related services continues to rise.

“Recent statistics by the CCK showed that the number of data users in Kenya rose from 3.2 million to 4.7 million in the last quarter, which translates to a 46.3% leap. With the launch of our unparalleled 3G network, we are confident that the number will spike further”, added Ghossein.

Meanwhile, Ghossein has challenged software developers to come up with applications to take advantage of the increased data capacity offered through the new 3G services.