Safaricom is set to launch Kenya’s first Fifth-generation (5G) Mobile internet services on Friday, 26th March 2021. Safaricom is targeting major Urban centers in Kenya.
Safaricom has revealed that the Friday launch of the 5G technology will be powered by Nokia Corporation and Huawei which has been the subject of increased scrutiny in the Western world over the introduction of the high speed networks.
The 5G service is a central part of Safaricom’s attempts to further expand its data business to help counter slower growth in voice calls revenue.
The 5G network will be available in Nairobi and greater western Kenya including Kisumu, Kisii and Bungoma, which routinely witness increased data traffic.
Last year, Safaricom completed testing and trials for the upgraded network as the company seeks to capitalize on burgeoning mobile Internet use in the country.
The 5G launch follows the December 2015 unveiling of the 4G network, which has helped Safaricom grow its revenues from data to Sh49.6 billion last year from Sh17.9 billion in 2015.
Safaricom subscribers who want to use the service will need to have a new phone that is compatible with 5G before they can enjoy the superfast Internet.
According to Safaricom, it will be the first operator in East Africa to launch 5G services and will be showcasing the capabilities of the network with the aid of Huawei and Nokia’s technologies.
Chipmaker Qualcomm has indicated that 5G could achieve browsing and download speeds of about 10 to 20 times faster than those offered by 4G. That would allow a consumer to download a high-definition film in a minute or so.
Mobile gamers will also notice less delay or latency when pressing a button on a controller and seeing the effect on screen. Similarly, mobile videos should be near instantaneous and glitch-free while video calls would become clearer and less jerky under the 5G network.
Safaricom had earlier noted that it was targeting about 80 percent of the Kenyan population with its 4G network coverage by doubling it to 5,000 base stations by March 2020, covering all major towns.
Data from the Communications Authority of Kenya shows that Safaricom grew its mobile subscriptions 4.2 percent to 38.144 million in the three months ended September.
Safaricom’s net profit for the six months through September fell by 6 percent to Sh33.06 billion.