Safaricom Launches 5G Network Service in Nairobi

A person using a phone
A person using a phone

Kenya's telecommunication service provider, Safaricom, is set to launch its fifth-generation (5G) mobile network services in the country- becoming the first operator in East Africa to launch the 5G technology.

In the new development, mobile subscribers will enjoy faster internet and browsing speed operating at more efficient data rates.

5G delivers over 1.65 Gigabytes-per-second for peak data rates and 100+ Megabits-per-second (Mbps) average data rates. 

Safaricom Headquarters.
Safaricom Headquarters in Westlands, Nairobi.
The Standard

The launch will target major urban centers with increased data traffic such as Nairobi and the Western region including Kisumu and Bungoma before scaling up the coverage to other major towns in the coming months.

Safaricom users who want to use the service will have to acquire new handsets that are compatible with the 5G network.

The 5G technology infrastructure will be supplied by Nokia Corporation and Huawei - a tech giant in the telecoms system industry which has amassed a lead in the 5G space globally.

The telco had initially launched the 4G network service in 2014 in a bid to increase revenue streams and offer a counter to slow voice data revenue streams. 

Safaricom had targeted about 80 percent of Kenya's population with the 4G networks service. According to the Census report in 2019, the Kenyan population stands at 47.5 million. In order to achieve this feat, Safaricom sought to double its base stations by 5,000 by March 2020.

The bold move saw the company increase its revenue from Ksh17.9 billion in 2015 to Ksh49.6 billion in 2020, according to data from the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK).

 Further, the company grew its subscriptions by 4.2 percent to 38.144 million in 2020. Kenya in total has 58.9 million mobile subscribers with Safaricom taking the lion's share. 

The new development comes as Safaricom developed a new video content platform by the name Baze for content creators. Content creators will earn 60% of the revenue for using the platform. 

Digital enabler Richard 'Astar' Njau hosts a discussion with influencers on a show by the name Baze Creators Garage
Digital enabler Richard 'Astar' Njau hosts a discussion with influencers on a show by the name Baze Creators Garage