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How to Activate and Use Voicemail on Airtel Kenya

Voicemail is a voice service that almost all mobile networks have. It allows your callers to leave you voice messages when you’re unreachable eithr due to your phone going off or when you’re in an area with no network coverage. This way, when you get back on service you’re alerted of any new voicemails and get the chance to not only listen but also delete them afterwards.

Airtel Kenya has a voicemail service such as this though it’s evident that most of its subscribers are either not aware of that fact or have no need for it despite its apparent benefits.

For one, the voicemail feature on Airtel is free of charge. Airtel is however quick to point out that it’s only FREE if you’re calling from an Airtel line within Kenya. I take that means if you’re outside Kenya (roaming), the voicemail ceases to be free.

Airtel Kenya is also not explicit if the voicemail is also available to their postpaid customers as it’s to those on prepaid, but next door in Tanzania that seems to be the case. So I suppose we can safely assume it’s also free here for those on postpaid. Let’s see how to go about activating and using it.


Activating the Voicemail Service

There are two ways through which you can enable the voicemail function for your Airtel Kenya line:

a. By SMS

Send an SMS with the message SUB VMS to the number 555. You should immediately afterwards get a response from 555 that you’re now subscribed to voicemail

activate voicemail sms
Activate Voicemail via SMS

b. By Calling

Call the number 555 or +254733105555. That’s all. You’ll be greeted with a message on how to manage your voicemail which can you proceed with as explained below.


Retrieving Voicemails

Now whenever you’re unreachable, your callers wont get the standard response that you cannot be reached. Instead they’ll be taken directly to your mailbox to leave you a voicemail. So it’s a good idea to inform your frequent callers of this change lest they think something is wrong with your line.

When you get back on service, you’ll get an SMS alert to check your voicemail from the number that has left you a message. To retrieve this voicemail, just call 555 or 123 or +254733105555.

new voicemail alert
New Voicemail SMS Alert

When you dial any of those numbers, the first thing is that you’ll be informed of are any new voicemail messages afterwhich it will proceed to play them. The number that left it and at what date and time it was left will be read at the end of the voicemail.  Dial the numbers on your dial pad as you’ll be instructed in order to relisten to that particular voicemail, to proceed to the next new voicemail if  any or to delete the voicemail if need be.


Customizing your Voicemail Account

Airtel gives you some options to customize your voicemail account. This includes:

  • Setting up a greeting
  • Setting up a password


The greeting option allows you to record your own voice to tell your callers to leave you a voicemail instead of using the default one from Airtel.

To set up your own greeting, call 555 or 123 or +254733105555 and go to the Administrative menu. Once here, dial 1 for Manage Your Greeting. Follow the instructions by dialling the numbers you’ll be prompted then record your message at the beep. If you’re not happy with the results you can change or remove this greeting by coming to this menu.


You can also set up a password for your voicemail account so as to prevent anyone from listening to your voicemails. However after setting up the password for my account I realized it didn’t change anything as far as I can tell: I can still access all the voicemail options, including removing the password without being prompted to enter it first. Perhaps it may be different for you though I doubt it. 

Nevertheless, to set it up just call 555 or 123 or +254733105555 and go to the Administrative menu. Once here, dial 2 for Manage Your Password. You’ll be prompted to create your password by dialling it on your dial pad. If later on you need to remove or change this password, just come back to this menu and follow the instructions.

Beyond Voicemail

A legitimate concern is what if your callers wish not to leave you a voicemail? In such situations, how do you tell who was looking for you or even to alert them of you reachability once you get back on service?

The solution is to activate the missed call alert service that informs you of your missed calls and alerts your callers on your reachability through SMS.

This can act as a fail safe or a complete alternative to the voicemail feature. Note however that if they do leave a voicemail, that will count as a call and so you won’t also get the missed call alert.

Kelvin Kathia

Kelvin is the editor of Tubytes. A long-standing blogger, he's passionate about writing, music and helping where he can in this little corner of the internet.View Author posts

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