5G is picking speed in the country as it catches up with global 5G adoption. Smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and OPPO are already selling 5G smartphones in the country in anticipation for countrywide adoption.
Safaricom, Kenya’s leading telco is wrapping up its 5G testing phase for a public rollout early next year and companies like Infinix and TECNO have started gearing up to bring 5G powered smartphones to the Kenyan market.
In July, we had a sitdown with Mike Zhang, Infinix’s Country manager and he talked about what the company was up to and what the future holds for Infinix right beyond smartphones. One key announcement he shared was that they were testing a 5G phone that was scheduled for launch later this year but looks like we could see a commercial device ready for sale later next year.
TECNO, its sister company is also working on 5G smartphones to launch next year.
Speaking to the media during the launch of the Camon 18 series in the country, Dickson Ireri, TECNO product manager and Shiva Zhong, TECNO country manager shared that as soon as Safaricom begins the public rollout of their 5G network, TECNO will be alongside with their 5G smartphones ready for their consumers.
At the moment, they are limited testing stations Safaricom has set up countrywide including few spots along Waiyaki way, Two Rivers Mall, Amboseli and Kisii. The telco recently shared that they’ve ramped up the sites from 15 to 200 as they prepare to launch the 5G network in the country early next year.
Airtel, Kenya’s second-leading operator has already upgraded 600 sites in Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi to be 5G-ready while they wait to be given the spectrum.
“These 600 sites are now 5G-ready. We don’t have to make any further modifications to the network. We will just get the spectrum and decide when to switch on,” said Prasanta Das Sarma, Airtel Kenya managing director while speaking to the Business Daily early this year.
Early this week, Rami Osman, MediaTek’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Middle East and Africa shared with us about their 5G plans pointing out that their Dimensity chips which already have 5G radios embedded will make 5G smartphones more affordable and thus increase global 5G adoption.
Mr. Rami adds that the chip-maker has partnered up with Safaricom to ensure that MTK chips, especially the ones supporting 5G (Dimensity as the case of the OPPO Reno6 5G) are working perfectly with the carrier’s network.
“We do not want to bring devices to the Kenyan market that are not optimized with the largest operator. We are also looking forward that the performance of the devices during the testing period is good,” says Rami Osman.
Mr Osman said that MediaTek is working with partners like TECNO to bring affordable 5G devices to the country.
We might see a Phantom 11 or Camon 19 series powered by Dimensity chips next year in line with the public rollout of 5G in the country next year.