5G is finally coming to Kenya. As expected, Kenya’s biggest telco operator Safaricom will be the first to introduce the fifth generation of mobile networks, or simply 5G. Safaricom will launch the network tomorrow, on Friday 25th.
The country’s first 5G network will be available in Nairobi and select parts of Western Kenya, including Kisumu, Kisii and Bungoma.
Safaricom’s 5G launch is in partnership with Nokia and Huawei, both well-known companies in the telecom industry.
While the launch of a new network means you might need to get a new SIM Card, that may not be the case. A report from Gadgets Africa suggests that you might not need a new SIM Card to connect to Safaricom’s 5G.
However, you will need a 5G compatible phone(obviously). The number of 5G devices is still low in the country, and the first phones to support the network out of the box has been last year’s iPhone 12 series and Samsung’s recent Galaxy S21 series. Last year’s Galaxy S20 series did support 5G as well, but it was – and still is – locked in the country.
Safaricom had plans to launch its 5G network in the country last year, but that didn’t happen. Earlier this year, Safaricom’s CEO Peter Ndegwa said the company has no plans to launch 5G, at least in the short term. Instead, Ndegwa said, it plans to “exploit and fully utilize” their 4G network.
The company did 5G tests last year.
With 5G, the telco’s customers will enjoy faster download speeds with lower latency. That massive jump in speeds also means users will have to buy more data. To put it in perspective, a 5G speed test alone can consume a gigabyte in seconds. So, the telco will have to adjust its plans to suit the changing needs. Or maybe introduce special 5G bundles. But we’ll see how that goes.
Update: 3:48pm. Thursday 25th/3/2021
Safaricom has sent out media invites for the event. As is now the norm, it will be held online from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on Friday 26th. In attendance will be Peter Ndegwa – Safaricom Chief Executive Officer and Morten Baangsgard- Safaricom Chief Information & Technology Officer.