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Airtel Upgrades 600 Sites In Readiness for 5G Switch

Airtel Kenya has upgraded about 600 sites with 5G mobile internet as it prepares to battle it out with Safaricom for a share of Kenya’s fast growing internet market.

“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,” Airtel Kenya managing director Prasanta Das Sarma told the Business Daily in an interview.

The Managing Director however said the switch is expected to take place in about two or three years when the price of 5G handsets drops.

Read: Safaricom Launches 5G, To Install 150 Stations in 9 Towns in One Year

Subscribers who wish to switch to 5G internet need to upgrade to 5G ready handsets. However, the prices for these gadgets are quite high. Currently iPhone, the latest Samsung such as S21, Huawei and a selection of high end mobile handsets are compatible with 5G.

“The 5G handsets right now are obviously very costly and see few buys. We feel that a reasonable price will start coming in one and a half to two years,” said Mr Sarma.

“That is the time we feel we will be able to switch on our 5G network. But if things happen faster, we are ready for it.”

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