5G has been a hot topic in the telco world, particularly in Kenya, where Safaricom has led.
Safaricom began its trial phase with 15 sites early last year and plans to launch 5G technology in 2022 publicly.
Kenya’s leading telecommunications company is expanding its network to 200 stations across the country.
Safaricom has stated that 5G technology is being tested, even though smartphone companies are launching 5G devices in the country, the most recent being the OPPO Reno6 5G.
Our Forums have made some contributions about the 5G technology Safaricom is using, as the telco has not been forthcoming about it. Safaricom plans to launch 5G commercially in 2022, increasing the number of stations to 200.
So far, here’s what we know:
- Safaricom is very likely to use the 3.5 GHz frequency for 5G services.
- The service is available in some city areas, but you must look for a signal to confirm this development.
- Users discovered that some devices, such as the recently released Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G, support Safaricom 5G. Other 5G-powered phones officially sold in Kenya, such as the iPhone 12 lineup, the Galaxy S20, S21 series, and some Nokia (X10, X20), serve the market. Still, all of these support various bands, and we haven’t seen any reports from users who have connected to 5G using them. Nonetheless, we are pretty sure that they will be supported.
- Some users have reported finding a connection along the Southern Bypass. However, expected locations such as the CBD, Thika Road, and Ngong’ Road are not linked. Nonetheless, Waiyaki Way is the only area with sporadic coverage, with signals near Safaricom HQ, which is not surprising. It was the first location where media tests were conducted. This was determined by using nperf.com.
- Safaricom appears to be employing carrier aggregation (5G and 4G signals).
- Speed test: tests near Safaricom HQ reached a maximum of 280 Mbps (down), but the tester could not obtain a screen capture.
- Data consumption: Speed tests consume a lot of data, and the tester had already depleted the bundles with a 1.5 GB allocation and 3 to 4 tests. So keep that in mind, but Safaricom has stated that it intends to release 5G bundles that we hope will be cost-effective.
- You do not need to buy a 5G-enabled sim card to use the service.