Swahili in Kenya

Using the Telephone

A person using a pay phone

Telephone usage in Kenya varies between the city, where most households have at least one line, to the far country, where there may be only one pay phone in the entire village. Pay phones require coins. When using landlines, one must be aware that there can be problems. Up to as many as 40 percent of all calls do not go through, and the numbers can be higher when using pay phones.

With land lines, one is billed for each call made, and an additional charge is added for long distance. One can make international calls with a touch-tone phone; however, with any other kind of phone, one must call the operator. In both cities and villages, pay phones are usually strategically located, but one must always expect routine problems with calls going through. When making a collect call, one has to go through the operator. The operator will ask where you are calling from, and the number and person you wish to talk to. If the person called does not want to pay, the operator disconnects the call.

The use of cell phones both in cities and in the country is rapidly increasing in Kenya. Although the rates are expensive, using a cell phone is easier and more economically viable than having landlines installed.