Safaricom Spotted Testing 5G in Kenya

safaricom 5G


5G is the new generation of wireless technology that has generated so much hype due to one thing: the speeds. 5G milimeter wave is the fastest of the lot and we have seen tests where they hover above 1Gbps download speeds. These speeds are so much faster than real life 4G speeds and that’s why we are hyped.

In Kenya, we have experienced 4G for a while now. Safaricom launched 4G back in December 2014 which is 5 years ago. We have started seeing other countries slowly launching 5G in ther locations so all eyes are on Safaricom now.

Well it seems like Safaricom is actively testing 5G as shown from this tweet.

The photo (looks like a screenshot from WhatsApp Stories) shows a contraption that has logos for the 5G standard, Safaricom’s and Huawei’s. The equipment is on a trolley which could mean it is being used as a mobile way to test 5G for the network.

This development follows Safaricom and Huawei’s installation of a new kind of a base station in Clayworks, Nairobi. According to Huawei, Tubestars support easy 5G deployment and this could be a first of many sites that we will see around when Safaricom deploys their 5G network. That was done back in 2018 which means Safaricom has been testing the possiblity of launching 5G for a while now.

We are also not sure what type of 5G Safaricom will eventually roll out in Kenya. My guess will be the low band 5G which are below the 1Ghz band and the mid band 5G that is between 2-6Ghz. 4G exists within these bands and it seems like the initial obvious start to deploying 5G for the masses. The fast 5G, the milimetre wave that roams between 30-300Ghz will be a hurdle since they don’t penetrate structures well and can be affected by rain.


  1. I find their ambition too hastened, sorry to say. They should first strive to make their fixed internet faster with the minimum speeds being at least 100mbps at the same price points. The age of 5,10-40mbps is long gone for such a huge company.

    • Fixed internet (Safaricom Fibre) is a whole other department with its own struggles. The arm of safaricom dealing with its core business (telecommunications) is in charge of this. They’re testing it out. Doesnt mean its rolling it out just yet. Kenyans havent purchased enough 5G enabled phones to warrant the move. However, I anticipate roll out in select areas by end of year through to 2021

  2. I think we won’t see true 5G anytime soon. With new phones entering the market powered by 5G modems, we will start seeing increased speeds but not as much as advertised. Just like 4G, it may take 5 to 10 years to see its full potential. By 2030 we’ll be on the 6G and Wifi9 hype-train.

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