Airtel Kenya has announced plans to introduce 5G mobile broadband services in selected neighborhoods around Nairobi.
The company has stated that the rollout will initially be done in high-end estates around the city, noting that residents have the purchasing power of the gadgets.
“I still believe that 5G is good in the medium term. In the short-term, our focus will continue to be on expanding our 4G footprint, and selectively launching 5G to capture opportunities in high-income neighborhoods.” Segun Ogunsanya, the chief executive of Airtel Africa said.
The company has emphasized that its network will first go “where we recognize enough devices and enough purchasing power to really enjoy the benefits of 5G.”
In Nairobi, estates such as Kileleshwa, Muthaiga, Karen, Lavington, Two Rivers Mall and will be the initial beneficiaries. Nakuru’s Greensteds International School is also on this list.
“On the 5G rollout, we’ve acquired spectrum in a number of countries. Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya, and Nigeria, of course. We’re going to do a selective rollout of the 5G.”
The announcement comes about two years after the telco inked a deal with Finish telco equipment maker, Nokia, to modernize Nairobi with high-speed 4G and 5G-ready hardware. The deal was expected to run for three years and will also future-proof Airtel Kenya’s 4G network to give the telco an easier transition to the next generation of wireless communications, 5G.
The high cost of 5G gadgets has been cited as a major hindrance to speedy penetration of high-speed internet. Nonetheless, consumers are expected to make a slow and steady shift from 4G to 5G as companies hope to build more affordable technologies to facilitate this transition.