Safaricom has today rolled out 4G LTE Advanced in Kenya. This move by Safaricom is meant to cement its position as the leading mobile operator in Kenya. According to Safaricom, the variant launched in Kenya is the most advanced in Africa and promises to bring significant improvements in latency and data speeds to users.
With today’s launch, Safaricom becomes the first country in sub Saharan Africa to have LTE Advaced and this will help Kenya maintain its lead as a technology hub.
According to Bob Collymore, Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer, “Today’s launch progresses our strategic push to democratize data. We believe in the transformative power of the internet and are keen to deliver the most advanced technologies to our subscribers in order to remain the network of choice.”
Safaricom will initially roll out the 4G network in specific areas in Nairobi and Mombasa. In Nairobi, it will initially be available in Gigiri, Runda, Buruburu, Lower Kabete and Parkands. In Mombasa, it will first be available in Mombasa Island and Changamwe. The company will have the whole country covered in 36 months.
According to Safaricom, users should expect speeds for the LTE Advanced network to reach up to 100Mbps which is twice what can be achieved by 3G technology. Safaricom spent $75 million to acquire 800MHz spectrum which it will use for LTE.
Safaricom’s Bob Collymore said the company is ready to use the relationship it already has with global Smartphone manufacturers to bring 4G enabled Smartphones to Kenya. Safaricom even plans to bring a 4G enabled Smartphone that will cost Kshs. 9,000. This will be available as from early next year.
Safaricom went ahead to say that the current SIM cards on its network are not 4G ready and that such SIM cards will soon be available.