Kenya’s Safaricom launches 5G network
When Safaricom launched its 4G service in 2015, what followed was great expansion and increase in revenue, fast-forward to 2020 and it had tripled its revenue from $160million to $450million. With the new plans to launch the company’s 5G technology trials for its customers in Kenya which will begin with both individual and enterprise customers in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega, Safaricom becomes the first operator to offer 5G services in the region, and the third mobile network operator in Africa, after Vodacom and MTN unveiled their 5G networks in South Africa in 2020.
Safaricom announced via its official twitter handle that services have been activated in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega, and will be expanded to 150 sites across nine towns over the next 12 months. Nokia and Huawei have been chosen as the two technology partners to implement the roll out of Safaricom’s 5G network although the service will be available on selected 5G smartphones from Samsung, Huawei and Nokia, all available at Safaricom Shops.
According to Peter Ndegwa the CEO of Safaricom, “Today marks a major milestone for the country. With 5G, we aim to empower our customers with super-fast internet at work, at home and when on the move, supplementing our growing fibre network. At Safaricom, we are proud to be the first in the country and the region to bring this latest innovation to both our retail and enterprise customers empowering them to start exploring new opportunities that 5G provides”.
5G enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices. The technology is meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users. At the first stage of Safaricom’s trial, the objective will be to establish if customers can enjoy speeds of up to 700 Megabits per second and then plans will be made to increase 5G internet speeds beyond 1,000 Mbps in later stages of the trial.