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[Interview] MediaTek seeking more partnerships with Kenyan telcos to increase 5G adoption


Chipmaker MediaTek has announced its commitment to driving 5G adoption in Kenya through partnerships with local telcos. In a recent interview with TechTrends Media, Rami Osman, the company’s Director, Corporate Sales and Marketing MEA said the company will continue local testing to make 5G a reality.

The number of 5G network users in Kenya has climbed to 509,737 in the three months ending September, according to the Kenyan Communication Authority (CA). This is a 13.3% increase over the 449,794 users documented by the authorities in June.  

The increase is due to affordable 5G devices that MediaTek says it will continue to bring to the market as it seeks to meet customer expectations. 

‘’We are trying to be part of the future and digital inclusion in Kenya’’ Rami told TechTrends Media. ‘’By bringing down the prices of  5G chipsets and working with MNOs (Mobile Network Operators), and local brands we’re reaching more people’’ he said. 

Kenya was one of the first African countries to launch the 5G network. Safaricom, the country’s largest carrier, launched the network commercially in October of last year following months of testing. It was subsequently followed by Airtel, which launched the network over a year later, in July of this year.

According to the CA statistics, the country’s achievements are driving a rise in demand for high internet speeds.

When Safaricom first deployed the network, CEO Peter Ndegwa stated that it was the first step in enabling its retail and enterprise clients to begin exploring new options provided by 5G.

Safaricom has since expanded its 5G connectivity to select communities across 35 counties as of November of this year. Rami says working with local telcos, MediaTek aims to improve 5G adoption in the country as a strategic priority for the upcoming year. 

“With fixed-line broadband penetration at only 2% across Africa, 5G mobile and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) has a key role to play in bringing the benefits of high-speed internet connectivity to more people,” he said.

 “We are working with OEMs and network providers to bring the educational, entertainment, business and lifestyle benefits of fast broadband to a much wider population in Kenya and across other African countries,” he added. 

Broadband demands are expected to continue rising in the Sub-Saharan region with the advent of augmented reality and virtual reality applications. This calls for closer collaboration among different players to improve the broadband infrastructure and help unlock the full 5G potential. 

MediaTek says it’s providing leading-edge platforms to power next-generation experiences and devices. The MediaTek T750 and MediaTek T830 for example enable operators to create dedicated 5G FWA consumer premises equipment (CPE). These full-featured systems-on-chip (SoCs) let OEMs and operators build extremely high-performance multi-gigabit CPE products.

‘’We are committed to delivering cutting-edge innovation with our latest products and solutions across smartphones, smart devices, automotive, satellite connectivity solutions and next-gen wearables’’ Rami concludes.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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