Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Step by Step Guide to Netflix in Kenya

Netflix is now in Kenya! 

Yaaay! I know a lot of movie enthusiasts that are really excited by this new development in TV content. So just to bring everyone to speed, I will try and help you wrap your head around what is Netflix and how to enjoy it. 

What’s Netflix?
Well in simple terms Netflix is an on-demand internet media streaming service provider. They allow you to stream TV episodes and movies at a standard fee per month. In Kenya they have three packages costing US$7.99, US$9.99 and US$11.99 or – using current exchange rates Kshs. 814, Kshs. 1,018 and Kshs. 1,222. These three packages have distinct features as below
On you first month, they will allow you to access the content without any charges. Now I have to offer a disclaimer before I proceed.

Disclaimer 1 - Don’t think you get free content by using different emails every month. You can’t. This is because before you get the free content for a month you have to provide your payment details and unless you have ten sets of identity you can’t go around using a different account every month.

What does Netflix offer in Kenya?
Well Netflix is a global firm and so is their content. What people are watching in the US is the same with what people are watching in Kenya. Netflix is mostly known for movies and TV series. This means if you’re a movie junkie then Netflix is your thing. It has all the imaginable TV series and movies. There are basically endless hours of content that you can easily personalize content to your desired taste. These are updated probably faster than you can keep up with. In addition, they have documentaries and soap opera but not so much of them. You even get subtitles if you want – a plus for the deaf. And you can resume watching from where you left off.

Disclaimer 2 – Not all their content is in Ultra HD and HD and the quality at which you watch with will largely depend on the strength of your internet connection. In fact I think most Kenyans will watch it in SD - standard definition. Let’s talk internet later in this article. 

Does Netflix have football?
Now for the umpteenth time, Netflix does not have any live coverage of football nor recorded football in archives - at least not for now. You can’t watch your favorite EPL (English Premier League), La Liga and Bundesliga matches on Netflix not abroad and definitely not in Kenya.

How do I pay for Netflix in Kenya?
Currently, the options of paying for Netflix include using the Nakumatt global card, Visa card, MasterCard and PayPal – that is as far as those living in Kenya are concerned. This is conceivably possible to everyone with a functional bank account and an active Visa card or MasterCard. Preferably the MasterCard. The payment is done on a monthly basis – and Netflix will automatically debit your bank account on a monthly basis so you’ve to actually cancel the subscription online if you want to opt out.

Sharing Netflix passwords
Now here is the ultimate hack - you can share your login and password with other users. According to The Money the CEO of Netflix agreed that sharing passwords does not have any impact on their business. So it won't be a surprise if several users watch shows using one account. But there's a bummer to this, you can only watch four different videos on four different devices at the same time. That is actually the family package. It is also encouraged that the streaming be done in the same location aka 'Household'  - not one in Kiambu in Central Kenya and the other in Shinyalu western Kenya :). However the rules on password sharing are not very clear on the do's and don't's but in the mean time just know 'sharing is sexy'.

What's best internet for Netflix in Kenya?
Now here lies the real setback – Netflix works well with fast and reliable internet. Normally, you need speeds of at least 5Mbs to stream HD and 25Mbs to stream Ultra HD. If you lack this then you’re going to have to put up with poor quality video streaming and endless buffering. Now that’s something a lot of Netflix users in Kenya will have to deal with. Here’s the list of internet choices for you;

Zuku is arguably the most convenient internet provider when it comes to affordability and streaming speeds. There’s a Zuku cable TV and internet package that you can use for Netflix that costs Kshs. 2,799 which comes with number of TV stations and 1 Mbs unlimited internet. There are other packages with faster speeds but you have to cough a little more cash. See them here. However, Zuku fiber is not available everywhere. You can check the covered locations in their website here . Another problem with Zuku is that their customer care is not so caring.

Faiba – Jamii Telcom
Faiba is offered by Jamii Telecom Ltd. The following are the packages offered.
You can obviously tell that they are more pricey that Zuku. However they have great customer service should your internet go down. In general Faiba is super-fast and has minimal downtimes. See the speed comparison with Zuku here. Actually in comparison to Zuku - both with the same 10Mbs plan - Faiba will stream almost twice as fast as Zuku. As with Zuku, Faiba is also not accessible from everywhere. See if your location is covered here

Safaricom and Airtel Kenya for Netflix
Well you can opt to use Safaricom or Airtel internet to stream Netflix services. Let’s start with Safaricom. The good is that they have 4G service which is fast enough for streaming. The bad is that I can count the places with 4G coverage in Nairobi with my fingers. You can use their 3G but that isn’t going to be wise considering the signal strength. Airtel on the other hand has a very strong 3G network. You can opt to use their unlimited internet but it is usually capped at around 20GB monthly for Kshs. 2,999. The problem with Airtel and Safaricom is that you'll be lucky to get HD streaming with their average speeds.

There are other satellite internet providers in Kenya but then they are not as reliable as the above or rather I have zero experience with them. You may try your luck with them and come back and tell me how it went down.

So is Netflix in Kenya worthwhile?
The answer is Yes. However, you must have a strong internet connection and of course the capacity to pay for their packages monthly. The alternative is to continue the good old way of waiting for some time after the release of TV series and movies and getting them from the movie guy.


  1. How about the good old Torrents if you have good internet speeds. Safaricom & Airtel are too pricey.

    1. If you have good internet speeds just go for Netflix otherwise why would you want to fill up your hard disk with TV series while you could watch them online?

  2. Thanks for this review on Netflix in Kenya. Things make more sense now

  3. Very informative. Thanks!