According to media reports, Kenya’s largest telco, Safaricom, and Huawei have tested 5G since 2018. However, it is worth noting that they were the first telco to bring 4G network to Kenya in December 2014.
The company continued testing 5G by increasing test sites across the country to 200 and finally launched it for the public in October of last year and has been the sole 5G network provider since then.
If you recall, in February this year, Airtel announced that they had acquired a 5G spectrum to fully roll out 5G in Kenya and will target specific towns in the country in the public rollout.
As of March, Kenya has close to 300,000 users connected to 5G, according to the CA. Unfortunately, the regulator didn’t specify which 300K users are on which network.
5G is the fifth generation of wireless network generation, and its central theme is speed which is significantly faster and more capable than its predecessors.
5G brings with it benefits like boundless connectivity in terms of high speed, secure and reliable internet for homes and enterprises, boosting tech innovation thanks to the opportunities for tech startups, enabling the digital transformation of enterprises including supporting Industry 4.0 goals, supporting massive IoT connections, enhanced mobile broadband that supports cloud and AI-based services.
According to industry data, mobiles are huge in Africa, with 1.2 billion mobile connections across the continent and over 650 million unique mobile users, making the 5G upgrade necessary for consumers, enterprises, governments and society.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of 5G across Africa. Close to 28 countries out of 54 have 5G, with over half rolling out commercially and the rest in the trial phase as of this month. Most telcos use either the low-band spectrum or the mid-band spectrum.
5G networks are available in these African countries Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Gabon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Senegal, Mozambique, Malawi, Republic of Congo, Niger, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mali and Benin.
There’s a strong demand for high-speed connectivity, especially with the data-hungry youth when it comes to consuming multimedia content(video streaming, music, gaming, live sports, cloud storage), mobile and cloud-based gaming.