To be able to do my online freelance work, having access to reliable and affordable internet is very important.
In this post I am going to show you some of the data bundles I use whenever:
- I want to go online to look for work
- I am working on jobs clients hire me to do
Popular internet service providers used by freelancers in Kenya
Here is a list of some of the providers freelancers turn to when they need reliable internet connection in order to be able to find jobs online & work on the projects / tasks outsourced to them to completion.
- Airtel Kenya
- Telkom Kenya
- Liquid Telecom
What I use (internet providers I rely on to do my work)
With Safaricom I like the daily 1GB Giga Bundle which goes for Kenya Shillings 99.
I also like buying Safaricom Tunukiwa data bundles from time to time. The items on the menu change (and I know they are tailor made to every user) but I will find myself buying the 2GB bundle (lasting 2 hours) at KSh 50 or the 1GB bundle that costs KSh 50 and lasts up to midnight.
Sometimes I also buy the 30 day bundles offered by this telco. The KSh 500 bundle (2GB) or the the KSh 1000 bundle (5GB).
With Airtel I like their 2GB daily bundle at Kenya Shillings 99.
When not using that bundle, I always find myself gravitating towards their monthly bundles for certain tasks I do online. The bundles I buy the most include:
- The KSh 300 3GB bundle and
- he KSh 500 5GB bundle
With Telkom, I could buy their daily bundles in order to be able to some things online. For example I would purchase their KSh 50 400MB daily for certain task, but only if I was in a place where the Telkom network was strong.
For this reason alone, I usually just rely on the two providers above. I have good things from many others recently concerning Telkom data bundles. And yes, the speeds do vary from place to place. If I am in a place with a good network coverage, I can even consider buying the 30GB bundle at KSh 1000.
Airtel Kenya is usually fast enough for me, though on Twitter I always see lots of complaints about their speed.
If I need something much faster, I usually just switch to Safaricom.
Also note that sometimes I buy bundles from both Airtel and Safaricom.
So, I might have a monthly bundle on Safaricom then sometimes set the SIM card aside and purchase the 2GB bundle by Airtel.
Other times, I have a monthly bundle on my Airtel line then switch to Safaricom whenever I see a great offer in the Tunukiwa internet bundles menu.
What devices do I use when browsing the web (or doing my work online)
I use two both by Safaricom. One is unlocked, so I can use any SIM card in it. I can use a Telkom or Airtel line on it and still access the internet on a laptop / desktop computer. The other modem is locked, so I can only use it with a Safaricom SIM.
Mobile Hotspot / WiFi
This is what I use mostly since I bought a smartphone. I just buy a data bundle on my smartphone (a dual SIM smartphone carrying both my Safaricom and Airtel lines) then tap on the Mobile Data and Hotspot option on the Google Android device.
Then I just connect a laptop to the network and I am able to do my work on a much bigger screen.
How I make my bundles last longer
I avoid sites / content that consume a lot of data such as videos. While working online as a freelancer is great there are times when you will be requires to learn a few things in order to be able to successfully deliver on a task outsourced to you.
I mostly avoid video content whenever I can and just rely on ebooks & article tutorials. If I can’t I will just lower the resolution of a video so that my data doesn’t get eaten fast.
I turn off the Mobile Data option off even when I leave the Mobile Hotspot option turned on. I do this whenever I take breaks.
Or when I have loaded a tab and don’t need to be connected to finish a task. For example, when writing an article, I can load up all the pages a client wants me to reference in different tabs, then switch off the internet and just concentrate on completing the article.
I watch for auto updates. It is not easy to do sometimes but generally I like to defer updates (on my computer / smartphone) to times when I feel I have enough data. It sickens me sometimes when 3 or 4GB of data just goes to computer updates in a matter of 1 to 3 hours.
So, I read a bit about how to make Microsoft Windows 10 operating system consume less data and implemented a few changes to make the bundles I purchase last longer.
Other things you should know
There are times I have had to rely on the internet provided in cyber cafes to work on client projects.
I am telling you this so you know that sometimes you don’t need to buy your own data bundles in order:
- to bid on jobs
- to find potential clients and send them email pitches
- to do the work outsourced to you
You can just do a cafe and use their computers and internet to get and do online jobs.
Safaricom has a ‘recover expired bundle’ feature. So, for example if you don’t finish a 30-day bundle you buy, you can buy a similar bundle and then use the Expired Bundle option to recover all the MBs you didn’t use.
Simple things like where you decide to sit in a room when doing your work can affect your internet speed whether you are using Safaricom or Airtel (in a modem or your smartphone / tablet).
So, figure out the best location to set up your working space. Place your desk and chair in a place that gives you steady download and upload speeds.