Kenya’s largest telecoms company is gearing up to roll out the first 5G network services

File image of Kenyans calling on their mobile phones.
  • Acting CEO Michael Joseph says the firm has completed testing and trials for the upgraded network.
  • Safaricom hopes to use the 5G service to further expand its data business and counter slower growth in voice calls revenue.
  • In recent years, Safaricom has been working with Huawei, a key player in the 5G roll out, for its core transmission network and mobile money infrastructure.

Kenyans will start enjoying fifth-generation (5G) mobile internet services before the year ends.

Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telecoms company, will this year launch Kenya’s first fifth-generation (5G) mobile internet services targeting major urban centres and offer Kenyans a taste of the superfast services in the region.

Acting CEO Michael Joseph said the firm had completed testing and trials for the upgraded network as the company seeks to capitalise on burgeoning mobile Internet use in the country.

“We are ready to launch (5G) technically, but will choose the right time to officially launch later this year,” Mr Joseph told Business Daily.

“We will launch probably in select cities.”

The 5G launch comes hots on the heels of the 4G network which the firm unveiled in December 2015 and saw Safaricom grow its revenues from data to Sh38.7 billion ($387 million) last year from Sh9.3 billion ($93 million) in 2014.

Safaricom hopes to use the 5G service to further expand its data business and counter slower growth in voice calls revenue.

In recent years, Safaricom has been working with Huawei, a key player in the 5G rollout, for its core transmission network and mobile money infrastructure.

Kenya had 52.2 million mobile subscribers in the quarter ended June. Of those users, around 49.5 million had mobile data subscriptions, with Safaricom enjoying dominance in this segment.

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