Safaricom has extended its super-fast fifth-generation (5G) network coverage to 28 towns across Kenya’s 21 counties, empowering its customers in the covered areas to enjoy accelerated connectivity for both their homes and businesses.
The move grows the number up from 11 towns in eight counties covered when Safaricom first rolled out commercial use of 5G in October last year, pointing to an aggressive push by the telco to expand its data business as part of efforts to counter slow growth in voice calls revenue.
At the launch of the network last year, Safaricom listed regions that had access as including Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos, Kajiado, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kisii and Kakamega.
The new extensions now cover counties such as Kilifi, Kwale, Nakuru, Laikipia, Uasin Gishu, Garissa, Kericho and Marsabit.
In a media dispatch on Monday, the giant telco also announced the introduction of 5G data bundles targeting its over 400,000 customers who use 5G smartphones with typical speeds of between 400Mbps and 700Mbps.
“The 5G bundles are personalised based on usage, and are available on Tunukiwa via MySafaricom App, Safaricom.com, and USSD *444# or *544#,” said Safaricom.
The telco’s chief executive Peter Ndegwa underscored the importance of increasing 5G coverage, saying it is key to empowering users to explore new internet-powered possibilities.
“As a digital lifestyle enabler, we are excited about a 5G future, which makes it possible to close the digital divide in underserved communities, provide access to critical services such as healthcare or spur economic growth by connecting small businesses to new opportunities,” said Ndegwa.
In efforts to have Kenyans get a taste of the 5G capabilities, Safaricom has partnered with Chinese tech firm Huawei to set up three 5G experience centres in Nairobi.
The services located at Safaricom’s Village Market, The Hub and Buruburu Shops, contain virtual reality gaming zones, showcases of smart capabilities for homes and businesses and speed-testing booths.
Costly 5G smartphones slowed down the telecom’s initial rollout plan of the 5G service, forcing it to shift to Wi-Fi.