•Mobile subscribers will enjoy faster internet and browsing speed operating at more efficient data rates.
•Safaricom subscribers who want to use the service will need to acquire new handsets that are compatible with 5G
Safaricom will today launch Kenya’s first fifth-generation (5G) mobile internet services as the battle for customers shifts from voice to data.
“Safaricom will be the first operator in East Africa to launch 5G services and will be showcasing the capabilities of the network with the aid of Huawei and Nokia’s technologies,”said Safaricom in a statement.
The firms subscribers will enjoy faster internet and browsing speed operating at more efficient data rates and speeds.
The service will be immediately available in Nairobi , Kisumu, Kisii and Bungoma, which the firm said routinely witness increased data traffic before scaling to other major towns.
Subscribers keen on upgrading will have to acquire new handsets that are compatible with 5G.
So far, only a handful of phones officially available in Kenya are equipped with a 5G chip, latest ones being Samsung S21 series with the Exynos 2100 and the iPhone 12.
5G delivers over 1.65 Gigabytes-per-second for peak data rates and 100+ Megabits-per-second (Mbps) average data rates.
Chipmaker Qualcomm has indicated that 5G could achieve browsing and download speeds about 10 to 20 times faster than those offered by 4G.
This would allow a consumer to download a high-definition film in less than a minute. Mobile gamers will also notice less delay when pressing a button on a controller and seeing the effect on screen.
Similarly, mobile videos should be near instantaneous and glitch-free while video calls would become clearer and less jerky under the 5G network.
Safaricom was also the first to launch the 4G network back in 2014 while their competitors joined the space a few years ago.
The project will be developed by China's telecommunication giant Huawei.
The Communications Authority of Kenya has already allocated frequencies to Safaricom