Here’s How Airtel Kenya is Expanding its Network Coverage and its 5G Prospects

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Airtel Kenya is one of the leading mobile network operators in the country, offering voice, data, mobile money and other services to millions of customers. The company has been investing heavily in upgrading its network infrastructure to improve its coverage, quality, and capacity across the country.

In this blog post, we will outline some of the recent developments and achievements that Airtel Kenya has made in expanding its network coverage and preparing for the launch of 5G services in the near future.

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Expanding 2G, 3G, and 4G Coverage

Airtel Kenya has been rolling out new sites and upgrading existing ones to enhance its 2G, 3G, and 4G coverage in urban, semi-urban, rural, and remote areas. According to the company’s Managing Director, Prasanta Das Sarma, Airtel Kenya has added over 1,000 new sites in the last two years, bringing its total number of sites to over 5,000.

Before the end of the year, the telco says it plans to increase that number by an additional 349 sites. The company has also increased its fiber connectivity from 1,800 km to 5,500 km in the same period, improving its backhaul capacity and reliability.


Some of the areas that have benefited from Airtel Kenya’s network expansion in the recent past include Nairobi, Mombasa, Malindi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru, Nyeri, Meru, Embu, Machakos, Kitui, Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana, Baringo, West Pokot, Samburu and Lamu.

The company has also extended its coverage along major highways such as Thika Road, Mombasa Road, Nairobi-Nakuru Highway and Northern Corridor. Additionally, Airtel Kenya has deployed network solutions such as solar-powered sites and microwave links to provide connectivity in areas that lack grid power or fiber access.

As a result of these efforts, Airtel Kenya has increased its population coverage from 78% to 86% for 2G services, from 65% to 75% for 3G services, and from 35% to 55% for 4G services in the last two years. The company has also improved its network quality and performance indicators such as call setup success rate (CSSR), dropped call rate (DCR), data throughput, and latency.

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Preparing for 5G Services

Airtel Kenya is not only enhancing its existing network technologies but also preparing for the launch of 5G services in the near future. Unconfirmed reports have it that the telco is upgrading over 600 sites in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu to make them 5G-ready.

These sites are reportedly equipped with future-proofed network equipment that can support both 4G and 5G technologies with a simple software upgrade. The company has also acquired sections of the spectrum in the 700 MHz band that can be used for both 4G and 5G services.


According to these reports, Airtel Kenya is ready to switch on its 5G network as soon as it gets the necessary regulatory approvals and market demand with some estimates pegging the rollout to take place in July 2023.

It is expected that the availability and affordability of 5G devices will improve in the next one to two years, which will drive the adoption of 5G services among consumers and businesses.

At the moment, Safaricom is the only carrier in Kenya with a 5G network and with the frequent expansion drives, Safaricom is poised to remain the biggest 5G carrier in the country for a while, even as more and more OEMs start to sell 5G devices in the country.


Safaricom continues to leverage its existing partnerships with device manufacturers such as Samsung, Huawei, and Tecno to offer attractive bundles and offers for 5G devices. We might also see Airtel Kenya getting into similar arrangements to allow more subscribers to take advantage of 5G.

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5G networks offer Internet speeds of up to 700 Mbps, more than three times faster than its current 4G network. Airtel rolling out this service will enable the company to offer an alternative service for homes and offices that are not covered by fiber networks or that require higher bandwidth and lower latency for applications such as gaming, streaming, video conferencing, and cloud computing.

It will be interesting to see how broader 5G coverage will help Kenyans also explore new use cases and opportunities for 5G services in sectors such as agriculture, health care, education, and manufacturing.


Airtel Kenya seems to be committed to providing its customers with the best network experience possible by expanding its coverage, improving its quality, and introducing new technologies, bringing the fight to market leader, Safaricom’s turf.

In the recent past, we have seen a number of initiatives by Airtel Kenya, aimed at making it a more viable option for cash-strapped Kenyans with cheaper tariffs, and generous packages.

Airtel Kenya’s current network expansion drive is good news for most Kenyans as it will allow the telco to offer more value-added services and solutions to its customers and contribute to the digital transformation of the country.


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