Residents of a village in Kiambu county do not buy mobile phones due to poor network coverage.
The people of Kwaregi village in Lari constituency have never enjoyed mobile phone connectivity since the services were first introduced in the country.
Lari constituency is only 35km north-west of Nairobi.
Ann Nyakio, a resident says the youths rent houses in the neighbourhood to connect on mobile networks.
“We normally see mobile phones with our children, but they cannot connect to any network when they come home,” Nyakio said.
She says most of the time, they normally rent houses in other villages where they pay Sh300 per month, just to see that they are using their mobile phones.
Kenya had an estimated mobile phone penetration of 95 per cent as of July last year according to the Communications Authority of Kenya.
The village lies in Lari Kirenga ward near the newly built Lari Technical Institute.
Area MCA Joseph Karachi says he cannot communicate with area residents because of poor connectivity.
“Unless you send somebody if you are in need of one of them, you end up going there physically,” Karichu said. Karichu has urged mobile phones service providers to address the issue. He says area residents live as if they were still in early 1990’s.
The villagers say most of the time they stay silent with their problems since they can’t communicate.
One of the residents, Timothy Njihia, reveals he had written letters to Safaricom, Airtel Kenya and Telkon Kenya, asking them to enhance connectivity in the area.
“I wrote those letters in April 2015 but we have never seen a feedback. We don’t know how to get their attention. We need help since we cannot all migrate from this area,” Njihia says.
The MCA says the area is sorrounded by Matimbei forest, and tea estates.
Tall trees have in many instances been associated with degraded reception.
Mobile phone service providers, Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom were yet to respond to our queries by the time of going press. The regulator last year fined industry players over below minimum quality of services offered to Kenyans.
There are several pockets in the country where mobile phone network remains a challenge. Residents have to climb trees or hills to access signals.
Some of the industry players had also earlier raised concerns over returns on investment in certain areas of the country.