Kenya’s Safaricom, has announced the roll-out of its 5G network trials for individual and enterprise customers in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega.
The company selected Nokia and Huawei as technology partners to implement the roll out of its 5G network and plans to expand the number of 5G sites to more than 150 across nine towns over the next 12 months.
During the 5G trials, Safaricom also wants to establish if customers can enjoy speeds of up to 700 Megabits per second, with plans to offer than 1,000 Mbps speeds in coming months and looking to go beyond in the later stages of the trials.
Commenting on the launch, Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said, “Today marks a major milestone for the country. With 5G, we aim to empower our customers with super-fast internet at work, at home and when on the move, supplementing our growing fibre network. At Safaricom, we are proud to be the first in the country and the region to bring this latest innovation to both our retail and enterprise customers empowering them to start exploring new opportunities that 5G provides.”
The 5G technology can easily act as an alternative to Home Fibre and Fibre for Business services, targeting customers in places where Safaricom is yet to roll out its fibre network.
Business and home internet customers on the service will be provided with a 5G router and the service will be first available on the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and P40 and from the end of April 2021 on the Nokia 8.3, Samsung Galaxy S21 series, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G.
The company says 5G can support up to 1 million connected devices per square kilometre compared to 4G which can only support up to 100,000 connected devices in a similar area.
These capabilities allow 5G to provide super-fast internet speeds in high density areas and for linking thousands of connected devices such as in a manufacturing and supply chain management for businesses.