About a week ago, we reported that there have been several sightings of Airtel 4G across different parts of the country and some customers had even gotten 4G enabled Airtel sim cards. At that time, when we spoke to Airtel Kenya, the company acknowledged that they were working on rolling out 4G sites and infrastructure but mentioned nothing more.
Thanks to a statement from the Communications Authority of Kenya, we have confirmation that the telco did pay the Ksh.2.5 billion license fee for full 4G rollout back in January of this year. “Airtel Networks Kenya Ltd has paid the 4G LTE 800 MHz licence fee of $25 million,” read the Communications Authority statement.
Airtel Kenya, which has been trialling 4G for the past one year, becomes the second telco in the country to acquire a full 4G license after Safaricom did so back in January of 2017, after a two-year trial phase. Other Telcos, that is, Telkom Kenya and Faiba 4G have also been using their 4G trial license, which are expiring in March and June this year respectively.
“We are in the process of rolling out 4G and we expect to officially launch soon. We are driving towards the fastest speeds at the most affordable rates in Kenyan market with Airtel 4G. Customers with 4G-enabled phones together with 4G SIM cards are now able to experience our 4G network in various parts of Nairobi,” said Airtel Kenya.
One thing that is unknown to many, Equitel runs on a virtual network that is dependent on Airtel Kenya’s network, this means that we could soon see the MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) launch a 4G network.
Sometime last year, Equitel revealed to us that they were planning on getting serious with their telecommunications service, even going as far as new value adds like financing for smartphones and leverage on the resulting data consumption.
With the imminent launch of Airtel Kenya 4G network, we could also see Equitel share in this glory, meaning all of Kenya’s telcos could soon be running 4G networks.