Broadcast Media Africa (BMA) has learnt that Safaricom has been allocated a prime internet spectrum for its fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology network, which will push the operator closer to rolling out commercial superfast internet.
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) allocated Safaricom a 60 megahertz (MHz) spectrum in the 2600MHz band.
“The 2600MHz band is very prime; the security agencies in Kenya previously used it but later released it following changes in the technology they use today,” a senior source mentioned.
Safaricom reportedly paid over US$25 million in licence fees for the 4G internet spectrum five years ago.
China’s Huawei, the manufacturer of Safaricom’s 5G network, has in other markets like Thailand preferred the 2600MHz band because it permits operators to install base transmission stations for heavy data traffic nationwide.
The allocated spectrum marks a significant turning point for Safaricom, which the operator can formally roll out 5G and take advantage of the rising demand for superfast internet.
Kenya’s leading telcos, Airtel and Safaricom, have previously done extensive trials on 5G from hundreds of sites spread across the country.
Airtel Kenya has more than 600 sites in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Malindi.
Safaricom has already piloted 5G networks in several counties, including Nairobi, Kisumu and Kisii, and aims to expand the high-speed internet service to more urban areas.
The Authority has fast-tracking preparations for the 5G rollout and indicated that some of its fixed wireless access (FWA) network infrastructure would be converted to support 5G technology by June.