About a week ago, Safaricom was spotted testing 5G in Kenya. 5G is the next evolution of wireless technology that promises faster speeds and lower latency and the hype is real. Safaricom is the biggest carrier in Kenya and the idea that they are testing 5G in Kenya is quite fun to hear.
There is now a development. According to the Government Business Review, Safaricom has reframed its WIMAX frequencies to rollout fixed wireless 5G in Nairobi.
Apparently, Safaricom was expected to launch 5G this week with the Communications Authority confirming that they were in the picture. They could roll it out to limited parts in Nairobi and Westlands, which seems like what they did with 4G five years ago.
“Yes, CA is aware of Safaricom’s plans,” they told the pubication. “The spectrum envisaged for the first round of 5G rollout is already with the operators who are expected to refarm their formerly assigned WIMAX frequencies in the 2.5 and 3.5Ghz bands.”
The regulator had planned for an industry forum next month to discuss the nation’s rollout plans. The Communications Authoiry apparently said that a number of players are also interested in rolling out fixed wireless 5G and the forum was to address this issue. “The Authoriyt plans to avail all the 5G standardized frequencies ready for assignment to prospective operators,” they said.
If Safaricom rolls out 5G, it could be of the fixed 5G type. There is an antenna that creates a wirelss connection with a nearby tower that sends the connection to a router in the house. 5G devices in the house will then connect to the router. This sounds like the system that Rain has with its 5G network in South Africa that they launched in September last year.
Apparently, Safaricom achieved speeds of upto 750Mb/s in initial tests, which is clearly faster than 4G but not the best 5G speeds that we have seen. Milimetre wave 5G can go double that easily. However, in both cases, the real speeds will be lower than that.
If Kenya rolls out 5G, it will join the elite group of countries in the continent that are rolling out 5G, which includes South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt.
Currently we have very few devices that support 5G, which include the Galaxy S10 5G, Huawei Mate 30 and a few others so this will be enjoyed by the very few.