Airtel is finally playing catch up for 5G service delivery to its customers in Kenya. It has been a a few months since the availability of 5G Wi-Fi from Safaricom was announced, complementing its growing fibre network.
Safaricome 5G network is not available in most areas, with a select list of towns and areas around the country where you can get any coverage. In Nairobi, the hopes of a 5G signal are buried in a countable number of middle class and rich estates.
Airtel 5G Set to Launch
Airtel is planning to take it even a bit slower. Only high-income neighbourhoods the capital will get it first, given their purchasing power.
5G is the next level of connectivity for mobile devics. As opposed to 4G, which can only support 100,000 devices in the same area, 5G can support up to one million devices. 5G could achieve browsing and download speeds of about 10 to 20 times faster than those offered by 4G
“I still believe that 5G is good in the medium term. In the short-term, our focus will continue to be on expanding our 4G footprint, and selectively launching 5G to capture opportunities in high-income neighbourhoods.” Says the CEO Airtel Africa.
This is a plan we cannot fault. Safaricom itself has faced difficulty expanding its fifth-generation network and sites because of the high cost of 5G mobile phones. Presently, the best 5G phones in the Kenyan market go for more than KES 40,000. Since they are few and expensive, only a few retailers offer them.
Considering the cost of switching from 4G to 5G, it is okay to say only the rich can afford that at the moment. Additionally, 5G is still at its infancy world-over, and the majority might not feel the need to switch just yet. Rightfully so.
Airtel has acquired spectrum in a number of countries. These include Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya, and Nigeria.