The telecommunications space in Kenya has seen some interesting times, from the days of Kencell (now Airtel) followed by the numerous ownership and brand changes to YU coming in and swiftly leaving to Orange and Telkom love affairs, then Equitel and now a new player is set to rock the market.
Jamii Telecommunications Limited (JTL) popularly known as Faiba, has sent out invites to an event, later on, tonight for the possible launch of their new mobile network that has been under testing for some time now. In anticipation of this, here’s what we know so far about Faiba Mobile:
- Faiba Mobile will be a 4G only service and it will be available through Band 28 (700MHz) spectrum. We do not know whether JTL will aggregate another band as of now.
- The service will most focus on delivering mobile data through 4G but will also include VoLTE, the first of its kind in Kenya.
- Faiba Mobile will use the mobile number prefix 0747
- There are no official details on data pricing yet but the unofficial information we have point to what we can only describe as “cut-throat pricing”.
- There are rumors of a possible mobile money launch as well. JTL registered the following terms as trademarks back in July; Faiba Pay and Faiba Money.
- Network coverage so far is extensive in Nairobi and its environs, reaching all the way in Kikuyu, Rongai, Kiambu road, Thika road and Eastern bypass. We have no word on other regions in the country but maybe Mombasa? Maybe.
JTL seems to be going the JIO way, for those who are not familiar with JIO, it’s a telco in India that offers only 4G services, without 2G or 3G. JIO launched in September 2016 and by February this year, the company had garnered over 100 million subscribers in a market that had just crossed 1 Billion subscribers at that time. This was attributed to their lower prices compared to the competition and also working with smartphone manufacturers to produce affordable smartphones and feature phones that are capable of 4G and VoLTE.
The market in Kenya is quite different compared to India but we still expect JTL’s Faiba Mobile to shake things up especially when it comes to mobile data pricing.
- May 2017 – Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Awards JTL 4G Frequency Spectrum on Questionable Terms
- July 2017 – Jamii Telecommunication Limited (JTL) May Take On Mobile Money Transfers With Faiba Money
- September 2017 – JTL Confirms Penetration into 4G Space in Memo to Customers
- October 2017 – Telkom Kenya, Airtel and Jamii Telecom Apply for Extension of 4G Licenses