Safaricom Kenya has today announced that their 5G network is now live and available to users. Albeit in some select specific areas. The Safaricom 5G launch areas are spread across 8 counties; Nairobi, Kiambu, Mombasa, Kisii, Machakos, Kakamega, Kisumu, and Kajiado. This is a major milestone for the leading telco in Kenya and comes after some delays in its initial plan. The initial plan was to have the Safaricom 5G network launch in Q1 of 2022. Safaricom’s 5G tests have been ongoing for a couple of years but they first spoke officially about it early last year.
First things firsts, can any 5G supported device connect to the Safaricom 5G network? No, it is not that straightforward. Apple iPhone users will not be able to connect to and use the newly launched 5G network. They have to wait, receive, and install a software update from Apple before their devices can be compatible. For Samsung users, any 5G supported Samsung device should be able to connect to the 5G network. At the moment it is not clear what other manufacturer devices can and cannot use the newly launched 5G network.
Oppo users can also rejoice as there have been reports of several Oppo 5G phones connecting to Safaricom’s 5G network. The high costs of 5G devices had been seen by many as the biggest stumbling block to the launch of the Safaricom 5G network. Most flagship 5G devices from reputable manufacturers have been around the Ksh100,000 range. But that has changed with the infiltration of the 5G device market by companies like Oppo, Xiaomi, and Nokia.
- Safaricom has been cleared to test and roll out 5G
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5G WiFi for Home and Business
In line with the launch of the 5G mobile network, Safaricom has also announced a new Home 5G WiFi. This is a product designed for people who do not have access to Safaricom fiber services. To get access to this service you first need to be in a location that has 5G wireless network coverage. You then buy a router from Safaricom at ksh25,000 and pay a monthly subscription of Ksh3500 for 10Mbps.
This comes with a data usage limit of 300GB. You can also get the router for free if you signup for a 3-year contract. Quite a commitment that is. Other Safaricom Home 5G WiFi packages include a 100Mbps package that will cost you Ksh 15,000 each month. But your data usage is limited to 1TB monthly. There is also a Ksh 5,000 connection fee.
Areas With Safaricom 5G Network Coverage
Below is a Tabulation Of Areas That have Safaricom 5G at launch. Obviously, the list will continue to grow with time.
|3||Nairobi||South C||ark View Estate|
|5||Nairobi||Kilimani||Yaya Centre Mall, Kiluwa Apartments, Silverstone Apartments, Yaya Apartments, Kasuku Court, Abi Allan Apartments, Mango Court Apartments|
|6||Kiambu||Ruaka||Two Rivers Mall|
|7||Kiambu||Kiambu Town||Riverview estate, Golden Palm, Silver Gardens|
|8||Kiambu||Ruiru||Jerusalem, Mugutha, Murera, Murera Matangi|
|9||Kiambu||Juja||Juja South Estate, Murema Estate, Sunset Park, Oak Park Estate|
|10||Mombasa||Likoni||Mombasa Hospital, Fort Jesus|
|11||Machakos||Athi River||Baraka Gardens Estate, Acacia Estate, Osoit Gardens Estate|
|13||Kisii||Kisii CBD||Kisii CBD, Kisii Bus terminus, Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kisii University|
|14||Kakamega||Sichirai||Kakamega State Lodge|
|15||Kisumu||Kisumu CBD||Kiboswa, Maseno University, Lower Riat Estate, Kisumu Airport, Mamboleo Estate, Kisumu CBD, Kisumu Bus Station|
As of March last year, Safaricom was doing 5G tests with 15 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) sites which have grown to the current 35 during the launch. Safaricom also announced that they will offer 5G-specific data bundle for mobile users before the end of the year. Nokia MD Remy Hashem who was present during the launch commended the efforts noting that 5G technology is reliable with consistent service regardless of your location; shopping mall, at home, or outdoors.
This is a pretty huge step for the entire telecommunications sector in Kenya. we look forward to more widespread 5G coverage as well as competition for other service providers like Airtel and Telkom. We will definitely keep an ear out for developing stories in the 5G space to keep you up to date.
Featured Image Credit: Safaricom