5G Deployment in Kenya Hinted By Communications of Authority Allocating Frequencies

The 122 frequencies were offered to be deployment in Q1 2020-2021


The 5G hype is high around the world and it seems like the Communications Authority of Kenya is readying the country for its deployment.

According to the latest Sector Statistics Report Qi 2020-2021, the regular revealed that they have assigned frequencies which on paper look like the ones designed for 5G.

“To facilitate provision of communication services, the Authority made offer for frequencies for 122 microwave links to various operators for deployment in 1st Quarter of 2020/2021,” they said in the report.

This is part of the Authority’s mandate to plan, allocate, assign and issue frequency licenses as well as monitor, carry out surveillance and coordinate the use of the radio frequency spectrum resource to ensure its optimal and efficient utilization.

In the report, the Authority assigned new 122 frequencies in these frequency bands shown in the table below.

Frequency Band Number of New Assigned Links

5G bands simplified

The next gen of communications network uses an insanely wide frequency band that start from sub 6Hz frequencies all the way to the millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies that are on the high end. The higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength of the radio wave and it leads to an increase in speeds. This is why mmWave 5G speeds are desired. However, their range is severely undercut in the process so that is why telcos around the world choose to implement various types of 5G depending on their priorities.

There is the low band 5G that sits with 4G and 3G frequencies below 1Ghz. These have the benefits of the long range capabilities of 4G while offering slightly higher speeds. T-Mobile in the US uses the 600Mz platform for example.

The mid-band 5G ranges between 2Ghz and 6Ghz. Their range is shorter than low band mmWave 5G yet offer higher speeds.

High-band 5G is the type of 5G that is the most marketable to most people because of demonstrations all over YouTube and social media of speeds over 1,000Mbps. They have the shortest range and hardest to implement since they need vastly more towers to serve the same number of people.

It seems that the Authority has hived off frequencies that cater for the deployment of the mid to high band in the country and we will have to see what the operators will do with the allocation. The interesting bit is that the most allocation

This comes after we have seen various news about the state of 5G in Kenya. Safaricom was spotted testing 5G in Kenya early 2020 but this year, it was reported they have put those plans on hold. In addition, Airtel Kenya has also been working on their own 5G network where they signed a 3 year deal with Nokia to revamp their network.