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Safaricom launches 5G in Kenya. What should you expect?

Safaricom has today launched its 5G network in Kenya. With this move, Safaricom becomes the first Telco in the country to bring in 5G. With this new mobile network generation, the telco is partnering with both Nokia and Huawei to provide the necessary infrastructure for the network.

The Safaricom CEO says that the launch puts Kenya on the Global Map as the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to bring 5G to the masses.

5G brings so much promise including low latency, high reliability, low power consumption, high bandwidth, multi-level security, and ubiquitous connectivity. 5G can support up to 1 Million devices within one square kilometer compared to 100,000 devices with 4G.

What are types of 5G available?

There are three types of 5G currently available. These are:

  1. Low-Band 5G – This is the baseline for 5G, and is good for nationwide coverage. It uses the same frequency that was once used for TV broadcasts and can cover more rural locations. It offers speeds that are approximately 20% faster than 4G networks.
  2. Mid-Band 5G – This is good for metropolitan areas, but requires significant proximity to 5G towers. Speeds are about 6 times higher than 4G speeds.
  3. High-Band 5G – This is the crazy tier. With millimeter wave (mmWave) users can achieve up to 10 times faster speeds than 4G. However, users need to be very close to a tower, and not blocked by any objects. This is good for cities and open spaces.

It is likely that the low-band 5G will cover many towns, with the mmWave being used in specific places and achieving those high speeds.

Areas that can access Safaricom 5G

The 5G network will be available across parts of Nairobi, and parts of Western Kenya including Kisumu, Kisii, and Bungoma. Safaricom says they’ll be bringing 5G to more towns across the country in the year to come. The aim is to have 150 5G stations across 9 towns in Kenya and to ensure speeds of up to 700Mbps. Later on, the speeds will reach up to 1Gbps after more parts of the country are covered.

What do you need to access Safaricom 5G?

There won’t be a need for new SIM cards. Your current 4G SIM cards will do just fine. All you need is:

  1. A 5G capable device
  2. Be within a region where there’s 5G coverage.
  3. Plus, any 5G specific bundles. These could come later on and would be a good way of getting more people interested.

Devices supporting 5G in Kenya:

Currently, there are a couple of devices already supporting the 5G network. These are:

  1. The new Galaxy S21 Series from Samsung
  2. The new iPhone 12 Series – Users will need to wait for an update from Apple.
  3. Nokia 8.3
  4. Huawei P40 Series

Safaricom launches 5G in Kenya. What should you expect?
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