Safaricom rolls out Kenya’s first 5G network

Select Safaricom customers in five counties can now access 5G internet services after the telco launched the service on Thursday, with the first beneficiaries being home and office users.

The company announced the availability of the super-fast internet that will be used only on 5G-enabled devices about a year-and-a-half since starting 5G trials in March last year, with the first target on its enterprise customers.

The service, however, will be available at 35 active 5G sites across Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii, Kakamega and Mombasa counties at first, before the company expands to 200 sites across the country by March 2023.

“We believe in the transformative power of the internet and will continue to deliver the most advanced technologies towards enabling our customers to enjoy a digital lifestyle. The launch of 5G Wi-Fi is the first step in empowering our retail and enterprise customers to start exploring new opportunities that 5G provides,” said Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.

Safaricom also announced that the service will not be immediately available on mobile data packages, as the company says it is in the process of rolling them out.

“Plans are also underway to provide 5G data packages for mobile internet customers and leverage the Lipa Mdogo Mdogo device-financing solution to avail more affordable 5G smartphones,” the company stated.

Customers in 5G-ready zones can access 5G Wi-Fi by purchasing a 5G router at Sh25,000 and incurring a setup fee of Sh5,000, then select from three packages on offer.

“Customers will also have the option of signing up for a 36-month contract that will enable them to receive the router for free. The introductory 5G Wi-Fi plans include 10Mbps with a usage limit of 300GB at Sh3,499; 40Mbps with a usage limit of 500GB at Sh5,999; and 100Mbps with a usage limit of 1TB at Sh14,999. Customers will be able to continue using the internet at throttled speeds upon depletion of the allocated usage limit,” Safaricom stated.

It added that customers using supported 5G smartphones will also access the 5G network.

Supported smartphones include 5G-enabled devices from the Samsung Galaxy S and Fold series, as well as Huawei and Oppo 5G devices. Customers using iPhones and selecting 5G-capable Samsung devices will require a software update from the manufacturer to access the 5G network.

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