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Kenyans to walk away with smart wearables in Huawei Mobile’s Let’s Fit Challenge

Tech giant – Huawei has unveiled a two-week campaign that will see lucky Kenyans walk away with Huawei GT2 pro, Huawei GT2 and HUAWEI Watch fit. The promotion is aimed at encouraging Kenyans to get into fitness related activities which will see some of them walk away with various wearable devices. In a campaign dubbed “Let’s Fit Challenge”, any Kenyan with a smartphone can participate and win any of the set prizes within two weeks.

Due to the guidelines put in place in the wake of the corona virus, most Kenyans are now spending more time indoors, which can be a recipe for many fitness related ailments. Employers have even opted for some of their staff to work from home which now makes fitness related activities more important. Let’s Fit Challenge will run from 17th April until 30th April.

According to Huawei, any Kenyan can take part in the challenge by just downloading the company’s health application from the app market and participate in the following fitness activities; run or walk 5000 steps daily for 5 days, which will get them a lottery ticket for the draw to win various gift hampers.

Speaking on the initiative, Huawei Mobile Kenya country head Jim Zhujie said the pandemic’s third wave had forced public fitness places like gyms to close which has become a major challenge to fitness enthusiast. Zhujie further said the company had come up with the campaign to reward Kenyans as they take a fitness journey.

The country head further pointed out the company was seeking to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle on matters fitness through tracking activities using different HUAWEI wearables such as HUAWEI GT2 pro, HUAWEI GT2 and HUAWEI Watch fit which are available across the country. Zhujie also noted the importance to keep track of personal fitness data as is used to develop training plans tailored to everyone.

How to participate in Huawei’s Let’s Fit Challenge and win exciting wearables.

  • Users need to have a smartphone and proceed to download HUAWEI Health App from App Market 
  • Next, Login to HUAWEI Health App with your HUAWEI ID account
  • Click “Join Let’s Fit Together Challenge Page
  • Then, tap on “Take challenge
  • Users can choose to run or walk for 5000 steps daily for 5 days accumulated and earn 1 lottery entry per run/walk.
  • Remember to auto-sync your app by going to HUAWEI Health App > Me > settings > enable Auto sync. Also go into privacy settings to enable sync to Cloud.
  • Participants will receive Let’s Fit Together Medal automatically after they complete the challenge.
  • You’ll need to enter your detail information after winning, Physical Prizes will be sent within 15days after your information is confirmed.

Uber, Little Cab and Bolt drivers plan to go on strike if operators fail to increase fares

Uber, Bolt and Little Cab drivers are planning to switch-off their services if operators fail to increase fares in the wake of high fuel prices. Fuel prices in the country have been skyrocketing with a notable increase in March that emerged as the highest price-tag in nine years. These drivers depend on rates set by operators and are shared between the driver and the operator.

According to the taxi hailing app drivers, low fares have made it impossible to service car loans as well as cutting down their overall take-home amount. They are demanding operators to increase fares and their commissions to mitigate the effects of high fuel prices.

Petrol prices per litre are retailing from Ksh. 107.66 in Nairobi, reflecting a nine-year high. Through their official lobby – E-hailing Transporters Kenya, drivers are now demanding a hike in fares and a reasonable cut in commissions or switch off their phones if the demands are not met in a months’ time.

Speaking on behalf of the lobby, Secretary General Wycliff Alutalala issued a 30-day notice to all the operators, saying they will be forced to switch-off and delete respective apps if their demands are not met.

 Currently, Uber offers its drivers a cut of 25 percent in commission while Bolt and Little Cab shares a 20 and 19 percent cut, respectively. According to the lobby, drivers want operators to take less than 15 percent from their earnings.

Drivers allege that on a Ksh. 1,000 trip, they only take home about Ksh. 250 with Ksh. 250 going to app owners and fuel taking the rest of earnings.

Airtel forced to give Kenyans 30 percent stake within 3 years in a new licensing policy

Just days after Airtel Kenya announced it had upgraded some of its sites to 5G, the government has put in place measures that will see the mobile service provider shade-off at least 30 percent of ownership in favor to local entities. The move is expected to take shape within the next three years, this is after the Cabinet secretary of ICT Joe Mucheru issued a licensing policy that requires local ownership of at least 30 percent in companies.

In the new licensing policy, telecommunications firms have up until 2024 to ensure they comply. 30 percent represents a slight increase from previous 20 percent that has been in place since 2008. As of now, a couple of companies including Telkom Kenya had been exempted from the requirement from the rule. Airtel was expected to sell-off some of its shares within this period to comply with the requirement.

According to a gazette notice issued by the cabinet secretary, firms which initially had been exempted are now expected to comply with the new policy requirement within the next three years. Accordingly, companies that had complied with the initial 20 percent requirement will also need to scale local shareholding to at least 30 percent.  

On the other hand, MTN Uganda had opted to sell its stake directly to local pensions fund instead of listing its shares. As a result of the new policy, we expect deal making activities to start taking shape in the lucrative telecommunications sector that has for years been a key interest to foreign firms.  

Airtel Kenya upgrades its network to 5G, but you will not access it just yet

Airtel Kenya has announced it upgraded some of its sites to 5G, in some respect the announcement is a bit confusing since users will not be able to connect to the next generation of mobile internet just yet. The move follows a successful rollout of 5G network by Safaricom in some Kenyan towns including, Nairobi, Kisumu and Kakamega. With dwindling revenues from voice and text messages, which have for decades accounted as the most income earners for mobile operators, telco’s are now exploring mobile data services as an alternative revenue generator.

According to Airtel Kenya, moving to 5G platform will give it a head start to cater for a growing demand for mobile internet services in the country. Airtel Kenya is the second largest mobile service provider in the country after Safaricom which pioneered 5G network in Kenya. As per the operator’s data, over 600 sites in Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi are now 5G ready.

Why you still can’t access 5G on Airtel network with a supported device

While the announcement was met with excitement, Kenyans should take this news with a pinch of salt for various reasons. To start with, the upgrade is majorly on infrastructure-wise and not consumer wise use. Meaning the infrastructure is yet, just not the 5G signal itself. Secondly, 5G capable devices are still way above what a common consumer in the country can afford.

While speaking on the news, Airtel Kenya Managing Director Prasanta said the 600 sites were 5G ready and will not be required to make anymore adjustments to rollout the network. The Director further added, all the company will have to do is switch-on the network.  

As per current statistics, Airtel Kenya accounts for nearly 26.5 percent of all mobile data users in the country. The current pandemic has forced data demand upwards, partly due to the need to access internet from home for work and to access various resources such as learning, shopping and so forth.

Once the mobile provider switches on 5G, Kenyans will access internet at three times faster internet speeds than what 4G can currently offer. As of now, 5G phones in the country are limited and costly.  Airtel aims to rollout 5G in the next 1 to 2 years when 5G capable devices are a bit cheaper according to the Managing Director.  

Safaricom adopts Ericsson’s E-band microwave transport solution for efficient spectrum use

Kenya’s largest mobile service provider – Safaricom, has chosen Ericsson to supply microwave solutions that will see the mobile service provider attain multi Gbps data capacity for mobile broadband services as well as efficient use of spectrum. Safaricom recently started its official migration from current 4G network to 5G, with initial sites setup within Nairobi, Kisumu and Kakamega towns.

Ericsson’s technology based on the MINI-LINK 6352 comes with numerous advantages, including the ability to achieve higher capacity levels, efficient use of spectrum, lower power consumption as well as simplified operations and maintenance. The solution is based on E-band platform that capitalizes on recent technology advancements which now enable microwave, radio wave platforms to achieve Gigabit per second, up from previous Megabit per second.

The partnership will see Safaricom attain impressive capacity levels in areas where fibre is not available. The Microwave solution is not only aimed at areas that are yet to be covered with fibre optic but is touted to achieve multi Gbps links and provide the much-needed capacity for Safaricom to expand data growth through Radio Access Network (RAN).

Speaking on the partnership, Safaricom’s CEO Peter Ndegwa said the company was committed to giving customers better experiences through quality networks as well as building a solid base to evolve the provider’s network. Ndegwa further said the telco would now be able to continue to inspire and innovate in meeting frequent changing requirements of its customers from the partnership.

Safaricom has been shifting its focus from traditional voice and text services in recent times to data and mobile money provision, partly due to dwindling revenues from those services. The telco is looking to offer additional services including a savings solution to boost its revenues.

In order to meet various demands, Safaricom is looking to tap into Ericsson’s solution, a move that would allow it to offer a mix of fibre and microwave solutions for its Radio Access Network sites.

Speaking on the partnership, Head and Vice President of Ericsson East and South Africa Todd Ashton said, building an efficient Microwave backhaul network with end-to-end performance required a high node capacity, compact and modular building practice as well as advanced packet functionality. Todd further said the partnership will help develop as well as deploy future-ready network with a new level of capacity, speed and quality.

Taxi hailing app – Uber and Uber Eats now available for users in Nakuru Kenya

Following successful launch in Major Kenyan towns; Mombasa and Nairobi, Uber has now officially started offering its services to residents of Nakuru town. The online taxi provider will avail both its food delivery and taxi services to the residents. The move pits it against other taxi providers in the country, who have been quick to rollout their services in various towns within the country.

Uber will officially be joining the likes of Bolt as well as other local based providers to compete for riders in the town. Other service providers such as Wasili cabs, Bolt, Bomba and Safiri will each compete for the lucrative market within the town.

Speaking on the launch, Uber head of East Africa Brian Njao said the company was optimistic regarding business opportunities in the country and the introduction of its services in Nakuru shows the commitment Uber has in the region. Njao further noted the company was keen to assisting people during the pandemic period to make essential trips safely while at the same time giving Kenyans more economic opportunities.

And while Uber is generally preferred by Kenyans in the towns they are operational, Estonian based taxi hailing company – Bolt enjoys a generally wider presence in the country, with operations in Kisumu and Kakamega adding to major towns like Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa.

And as is the case here in Nairobi, Uber has partnered with restaurants in the area, such as KFC, Java house, jamia food mart, Majid restaurant and Lennz Pizza to deliver food to residents through Uber Eats service.

Kenya is currently undergoing a lock down as well as other directives that restrict normal operations of restaurants and bars to curb the spread of the corona virus and the introduction of its services in the area will come as a major relief to many businesses.

Bolt has also recently introduced food delivery service in the country – staring with Nairobi, putting pressure on Uber Eats, Glovo and Jumia Food, who have been in the industry for a while.  The introduction of Uber Eats in Nakuru adds Uber’s presence in the country, following recent expansion in Mombasa, Ongata Rongai, Syokimau and Kitengela.

Xiaomi Mi Smart band 6 unveiled with rounded corners and Sp02 tracking capabilities

Xiaomi’s smart band series have always been my go-to, when I’m looking for a fitness tracking device. They’ve always had the best battery life in my opinion and are offered at an interestingly low price. Ever since the Mi band 3 was unveiled, I’ve had each of the Mi band series and 6 looks like yet something I’ll just have to keep me going. While launching a sleuth of other devices such as a projector, Xiaomi unveiled the next iteration of its Mi series – the Mi Smart band 6.

It’s the biggest upgrade we’ve seen thus far, ever since the Mi band 3 was unveiled featuring the first ever color screen. With Mi band 6, Xiaomi included an Sp02 tracking, enabling the smart band to effectively track your blood oxygen level including checking on your breathing quality – REM tracking during sleep. Sensors included on older bands such as a heart rate monitor are also onboard.

There’s so much that has gone into the Mi band 6, that we feel it deserves the “biggest upgrade” label in comparison with older models. For once, Xiaomi has borrowed inspiration from current smartphones to bring rounded corners on the smart band. The design aesthetics are so good that we are intrigued with the 1.56-inch display panel which appears pill-shaped creating some good confusion on just how to correctly measure the panel. But in a nutshell, the 1.56-inch panel is 50 percent larger than the Mi band 5 and offers an ample screen resolution of 152 x 486 pixels, translating to a decent 326ppi. The display panel comes with a tempered screen to resist those scratches as well as an oleophobic coating to keep smudges and fingerprints away.

Something that has always fascinated me on the Mi bands series is their ability to go for several days, if not weeks without requiring charging. Unfortunately for some reason we still get the same125 mAh battery capacity as the predecessor, which keeps the battery life at par with its predecessor at 14 days. The magnetic charging strap is the same as one used on the band 5, which is not necessarily a bad thing, especially after moving away from the one used on band 4 that required removing straps to charge the fitness tracker.

Other additions on the latest Mi band, include a female health tracking feature as well as stress monitoring. There are 30 fitness modes at your disposal which is a welcomed upgrade from half of those we saw on the previous model. The band will be available in Black, Yellow, Olive, Ivory and Blue.

Availability and price in Kenya

On launch, the band was priced at USD 35 which is about Ksh. 3,800, but we expect to stay within the Ksh 4,000 – 5,000 range after taxes. At the moment you can purchase online from stores like AliExpress for about Ksh. 5,000, though official availability in the country is imminent if history is anything to go by.

Huawei mobile Kenya unveils a number of discounts on products and accessories this Easter

Huawei Mobile Kenya has unveiled a number of discounts on its products in the country during the easter holiday. Customers are slated to receive up to 50 percent off on a number of products within the 5-day period. The offer will also extend to Huawei services and will be accessible from various Huawei Mobile flagship experience stores across the country.

Huawei has faced pressure from current tag of ward between the US and China, which has led to a number of Huawei products and services being restricted in certain countries as well as lacking necessary chip supply to manufacture various products. The Kenyan government has however dismissed the allegations by the US and allowed one of the countries top mobile service provider to engage Huawei as well as Nokia in launching the country’s first 5G network.

To access Easter offers on products and services, customers will have to visit one of these experience stores; Sarit Center, Yaya Center, Village Market and Thika Road Mall. The offers are available during the 5-day window, where consumers will be eligible to receive 10 percent discount on all accessories that include Smartwatches, FreeBuds, Smart bands, free lace as well as on power banks.

On some items such as the most recent FreeBuds 3i will have a 30 percent discount as long as it’s purchased alongside any other product from the company. The company is also going all out on some accessories such as screen protectors, which will have a 50 percent discount, interestingly, the offer will apply on any Huawei products as well as on other brands. Screen replacements on the Y-Series will also get a 50 percent price cut at the Thika Road Mall including the Huawei P30 Lite

Speaking on the campaign, Huawei Mobile Kenya Country head Jim Zhujie acknowledged the third wave of the corona pandemic had led to closure of some vital exercise related centers such as the Gyms and sports. Zhujie noted that this has led to more customers deciding to work out at home leading to an increased demand for virtual personal training. As a result, the country head noted the importance of the current offers that will give consumers an opportunity to own a new smartwatch as well as other fitness tracking devices at reduced prices.