Kenya becomes the second African country to roll out 5G

Source: Quartz Africa

By Carlos Mureithi

East Africa correspondent

April 1, 2021

Mobile network operator Safaricom has launched a 5G network in Kenya. This makes it the second country in Africa to roll out the technology to customers, according to GSMA, an organization representing mobile network operators worldwide. The company is trialling the technology in four towns, and expects to expand it to nine over the next year.

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa described the launch last week as “a major milestone for the country.”  The telco is implementing the project using technology from the Finnish company Nokia and the Chinese company Huawei.

GSMA defines the rollout of a commercial 5G network as one in which a customer can purchase a 5G subscription.  MTN and Vodacom launched 5G in South Africa last year. Telecommunications companies in several other African countries are conducting trials for 5G, but they are not yet widely available for public use and thus not included in GSMA’s count.

While the new development makes Kenyans early adopters of 5G in Africa, questions remain over investor and market readiness for mass use of the technology across the continent. As a result, widespread adoption of 5G in the region, while a promising prospect, may be far-off.

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