Safaricom will expand its fifth generation network to more towns across the country over the next year. The company said it is rolling out the 5G network to five more towns, bringing the number of towns that will be on the upgraded network by 2023 to nine.
The giant telco is seeking to grow the number of its 5G sites to more than 200 locations with a widespread uptake over the medium term, according to its annual report.
“It is anticipated that the majority of Kenya’s mobile connections will be on 5G by 2029 and our network masts are prepared for this growth,” Safaricom stated.
“Nevertheless, in the medium-term, we will still recognize a significant opportunity to increase penetration of 4G devices before scaling to 5G rollout.”
Currently, Safaricom’s 5G network has been rolled out to urban centres in major towns including Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega on a trial basis. Safaricom announced that it was gearing up to commercialize the network later this year.
Meanwhile, the telco has improved its 4G coverage to 97 percent in the year ended March 2022 from 94 percent a year earlier.
Kenyan telcos are already gearing up for the rollout of 5G, with Airtel also laying down elaborate plans. The company upgraded 600 sites countrywide to meet 5G capabilities as it embarked on a widespread rollout of 5G.
Safaricom had earlier stated that it was banking on a widespread uptake of 5G mobile handsets to roll out the network. However, the prices for 5G devices have remained high, prohibiting the growth of the network which the telco hopes to use to grow its mobile data penetration in the market.