Safaricom becomes the first operator to offer commercial and superfast 5G network services in East Africa.
Safaricom plans to partner with the government and corporates in revving up its newly launched 5G mobile Internet services. To deepen innovation in the health and agriculture sectors. This will be a success through value addition in other sectors and platforms.
The telco on Friday launched the upgraded network in major urban centers including Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega, all of which routinely witness increased data traffic.
“The 5G network heralds the era of intelligent connectivity and will be a key driver of this strategy by enabling us to build on the investments and successes of the last two decades to catapult Safaricom to the next level as we enable digital lifestyles of Kenyans,” said Mr. Ndegwa in Nairobi.
The 5G technology will be supplied by Nokia Corporation and Huawei. Safaricom subscribers who want to use the service will need to acquire new handsets compatible with 5G. With the handsets, they can now enjoy the superfast Internet with fast data download and upload speeds.
Speaking at the launch ceremony ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru said the new network will enable the leading telco to roll out newer services needed in the local economy.
Communications Authority acting director-general, Mercy Wanjau said the regulator is encouraging more operators to roll out faster, stable and reliable broadband services.
Safaricom will seek to capitalize on the rising mobile Internet use in the country. The 5G service is a central part of its attempts to further expand its data business. This will later counter slower growth in voice calls revenue.
Safaricom has seen web data revenue grow more than three times over the past five years to Sh49.6 billion last year.
The 5G launch follows the December 2015 unveiling of the 4G network.
Kenya had 58.9 million mobile subscribers in the quarter ended September. Of those users, around 42.8 million had mobile data subscriptions, with Safaricom enjoying dominance in this segment.
Data from the Communications Authority shows that Safaricom grew its mobile subscriptions. 4.2 percent to 38.144 million in the three months ended September. Safaricom’s net profit for the six months through September fell by 6 percent to Sh33.06 billion.