Kenya’s biggest telecom operator, Safaricom, will expand its 5G infrastructure to 200 sites across nine towns by the end of fiscal 2023.
According to its 2022 Annual Report, since it activated the 5G service in March 2021, it has 35 sites.
Safaricom adds that it will leverage fibre and 5G technology with fixed home wireless as its first significant use case.
“Our aim is to empower our customers with super-fast internet at work, home and on the move, supplementing our growing fibre network,” the telco says.
“It is anticipated that the majority of Kenya’s mobile connections will be on 5G by 2029, and our network masts are prepared for this growth…Nevertheless, in the medium-term, we still recognise a significant opportunity to increase penetration of 4G devices before scaling to 5G rollout.”
Safaricom commenced trials for 5G with both individual and enterprise customers in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii, and Kakamega.
During its activation, Safaricom said the 5G network would give consumers internet speeds of 700 megabits per second, more than three times faster than the current 4G network.
Nokia Corporation and Huawei are supplying the 5G technology.
As per the report, Safaricom’s 4G coverage now stands at 97% across Kenya, with almost 6,000 4G stations;
3G and the 2G network cover 98% and 98%, respectively.
In the fiscal year 2022, it expanded its 4G services with 567 new base stations and 800km of fibre cable.
Safaricom aims to become a purpose-led technology company by 2025, driving innovation in ecosystems such as health, education, agriculture, and financial services and enabling SMEs to use technology.
“In the short term, our focus for FY2023 will be on proactively developing a scalable business in new growth areas in Kenya and beyond,” Peter Ndegwa, the chief executive officer, says.
“With the strategic aim of combining the power of new technology and innovation to grow beyond our connectivity and payment business.”