Safaricom Limited has been piloting the 4G network for about two years now. Well, Safaricom is now moving to the next phase in offering 4G coverage in Kenya. The firm has gone ahead and paid Ksh.2.53 billion (approximately $25 million) as license fee for high-speed 4G Internet spectrum. The licence now allows Safaricom to go ahead and extend its 4G coverage across the country. Once again, Safaricom leads the other Telecoms in rolling out new services to the consumers.
“The actual licence details are yet to be finalised with the Communications Authority of Kenya, which may include sharing obligations but we continue to hold discussions with a number of operators on possible agreements.”
-Safaricom corporate affairs director Steve Chege
It is expected that the firm will use the 800 MHz spectrum to roll out 4G services country wide. This is so because this frequency band allows for cheaper roll-out of 4G services. The Communication Authority of Kenya has issued all the three Telecom firms equal share of this spectrum. This was in a bid to avoid an uncompetitive market environment.
During the trial phase, Safaricom could only offer 4G services within restricted geographical areas. The firm first rolled out 4G connectivity to two major cities, namely the capital Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa, back in 2015. It was not until October last year that the company announced that it was expanding its 4G coverage to five more towns in Kenya, namely Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru, Kisii and Meru. The areas surrounding these towns also benefitted from full 4G coverage.
It is the above move that raised the number of counties with 4G high-speed connectivity to 30. As of last year, the company claimed that it had 1,000 4G enabled base stations across the country. Apart from that, the company also boasted of about 800,000 4G devices enabled on its network. The next move is to ensure that all towns can now enjoy high speed 4G connectivity.
Consumers yearn for very fast connection. This is especially so with the entry of streaming service providers in Kenya. The presence of Netflix, ShowMax and Amazon Prime Video in the Kenyan market directly translates to consumers seeking high speed connectivity. Safaricom has also acquired the 4G licence at a time when it is in the process of connecting our security organs to high speed internet courtesy of the government contract.
It is expected that the other Telecoms in the country, that is, Airtel and Telkom Kenya, will get their licences later on in the year immediately after they are done with their own trial phases.