Tech

Safaricom to Publicly Launch 5G in 2022, Increases Stations to 200

5G has been a hot topic in the telco world, especially in Kenya with Safaricom leading the way.

Safaricom launched its trial phase early last year with 15 sites and is gearing to publicly launch 5G technology in 2022.

Kenya’s leading telco is bumping up its stations to 200 spread across the country.


Safaricom has said that 5G tech is on a trial basis even as smartphone companies are launching 5G devices in the country with the recent one being the OPPO Reno6 5G.

There has been some contributions on our Forums regarding details about the 5G tech Safaricom is using as the telco hasn’t been open about it.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • It is very possible that Safaricom will be using 3.5 GHz frequency for 5G services.
  • The service is live in some spots within the city, but you have to hunt for a signal to establish this development.
  • Users have determined that some devices such as the recently launched Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G are supporting Safaricom 5G. The market, of course, is served by other 5G-powered phones that are officially sold in Kenya, including the iPhone 12 lineup, the Galaxy S20 and S21 series, and some Nokia (X10X20) – but all of these support a variety of bands, and we have not seen any reports from users who have connected to 5G using them. Still, we are fairly certain that they will be supported.
  • Location: some users have reported a connection along the Southern Bypass. However, expected spots such as the CBD, Thika Road and Ngong’ Road do not appear to have a connection. Waiyaki Way is, nonetheless, the only area that is sporadically covered, with signals near Safaricom HQ, which is not surprising because that was the first place that media tests were done. This was established using nperf.com.
  • Safaricom appears to be using carrier aggregation (5G + 4G signals)
  • Speed test: tests near Safaricom HQ maxed out at 280 Mbps (down), but the tester did not manage to get a screen grab.
  • Data consumption: Speed tests consume a lot of data, and with a 1.5 GB allocation, and 3 to 4 tests, the tester had already depleted the bundles. So that is something to keep in mind, but Safaricom had mentioned that it is planning to release 5G bundles that we hope will be good on the pocket.
  • To use the servcie, you don’t need to purchase a 5G enabled sim card.

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