State of 5G in Kenya: What to Expect in 2022


5G is going to be a hot topic come next year. Kenyan telcos and some smartphone manufacturers have made significant strides with 5G and in 2022, we expect more exciting announcements.

Safaricom, Kenya’s leading telco is set to publicly roll out 5G early next year. The company has been in the testing phase this year adding 200 test sites across the country in various towns including Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii, Kakamega and surprisingly, also at Amboseli(Ol Tukai).

Safaricom said that it is increasing 5G test sites to also supplement its carrier network as 5G can be used as an alternative to home fibre and fibre for business services.

It’s worth noting that Safaricom has only allowed select devices to access 5G.

The telco said it will resolve this issue

as the carrier erects 5G routers around the city for the masses.

And as we said, you will not need a new SIM card. The one you have is totally capable of accessing the faster connection.

We might also expect 5G data bundles next year too.

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.

We’ve reached out to Airtel to get details on these sites and we’ll update this post with more info.

Telkom Kenya is expanding its 4G LTE network which will set the foundation for the telco to deploy 5G in the country in the near future.

The third leading telco partnered up with NEC XON and Ericsson in a $10M modernisation investment to grow its network grow to four times its current 4G coverage footprint with an additional 2,000 sites by 2023.

In terms of handsets, we’ve seen smartphone manufacturers launch 5G-enabled devices in the country.

In the iOS world, we have the iPhone 12 series and iPhone 13 series all supporting 5G.

Few Android manufacturers have launched 5G devices in the country.

We have the Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 and the Nokia 8.3 5G.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 Review: Flipping Fantastic

OPPO recently launched the Reno6 5G in the country too.

OPPO Reno6 5G Camera Review: Lives up To The Hype

Transsion is also joining the bandwagon of 5G smartphones with its TECNO and Infinix companies.

Infinix has said that they will launch 5G powered devices and we saw hints with the Infinix Zero 5G rumours.

TECNO has the Pova 5G which will also be the company’s first 5G phone.

Speaking during the launch of the Camon 18 series in Kenya 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.

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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.

TECNO Phantom X Review: New Direction

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.

MediaTek Believes Kenya Needs Many Affordable 5G Phones for 5G to Grow, But it Has a Plan