Airtel Kenya to Make Gmail & Other Online Services Free on their Network

The new Airtel Ads and #NairobiRed Campaign
The new Airtel Ads and #NairobiRed Campaign
The new Airtel Ads and #NairobiRed Campaign

Accessing your Gmail might soon be free on your Airtel line.  This is following an advertisement uploaded by the Airtel Kenya through their YouTube channel on Valentines day.

Although not said in many words, the ad makes a reference to what has been the case before with most mobile internet users. When you run out of data bundles, then you can no longer access your emails. The title of their ad is ‘No MBs, No Emails’

This move will disrupt the Kenyan internet market further as more and more Kenyans use mobile phones and as phones become  the first device to access the internet for most Africans. There has been growing complaints on the cost of data bundles giving the rise to bundles mwitu. These are companies that were buying Safaricom data bundles in bulk and reselling to subscribers at a much cheaper rate than the normal Safaricom rates. Due to their popularity, they were shut down recently causing uproar from customers who still find the data bundles very expensive.

This is the 3rd internet service that Airtel Kenya is making freely available to its subscribers. Last year, they launched the free twitter service which ensured that their subscribers can still access their twitter accounts even when their Airtel lines do not have any data bundles. They also, in partnership with Facebook launched internet.org that enables anyone with an Airtel line access specific sites for news and information. Unlike the free twitter which has limitations on external links as well as images, the Gmail service might not have limits on accessing attachments freely.

Although I could not get more details from the Airtel Marketing team regarding this new service, the did hint that, it will be more than just Gmail. The official launch of this new service shall be announced on the 19th of this month.

Valentines day also marked the start of the Airtel #NairobiRed campaign that seeks to find out how much Kenyans rely on the internet as well as how lack of data bundles affects their communication.

So if you didn’t yet have an Airtel line, maybe this is a reason to get one.

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