Safaricom to test and roll out 5G in Kenya

Kenya mobile phone company, Safaricom is paving the way for 5G. The next generation of mobile Internet that should succeed in 4G is still in its infancy. Globally, only a handful of markets; the United States, Korea and a few cities across Europe have been able to deploy real 5G networks on their territories.

According to the Government Business Review, Safaricom has reassigned its WIMAX frequencies to allow the telecommunications operator to install 5G fixed wireless in Nairobi. Reports also indicate that Safaricom was supposed to launch the 5G service this week, the regulator, the communications authority of Kenya, confirming that they are in the image of these plans.

“Yes, CA is aware of Safaricom’s plans. The spectrum envisaged for the first round of 5G rollout is already with the operators who are expected to refarm their formerly assigned WiMax frequencies in the 2.5 and 3.5GHz bands.” Stated a report from the Communications Authority.

At the time of writing, it was not immediately clear to what extent the deployment would be extended. However, sources show that it could be limited to parts of Nairobi / Westlands. We know the theoretical and practical limits of 5G speeds. The first tests carried out by Safaricom would have reached speeds of up to 750 Mbits per second. It’s impressive, but we know the actual service speeds should be much lower than that.

Safaricom is not the only player hoping to benefit from the new generation network. According to the Communications Authority, a number of other players also want to deploy 5G fixed wireless. In this regard, the regulator intends to hold a stakeholder forum in February to address the issue. With this, Kenya should be among the first countries on the continent to deploy 5G services alongside Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa and Egypt.