Safaricom has rolled out 4G+ services in major towns on its network, advancing its LTE Advanced (4G) proposition. The development follows sustained investments by the company in building a robust digital network that can enable its customers to browse faster as well as enjoy improved voice services. “These faster speeds not only benefit the customer, they also empower small businesses which can now use the internet for more commercial activities,” says Bob Collymore, CEO,Safaricom.
The new technology builds on the growing footprint of Safaricom’s 4Gnetwork, which has been activated on over 1,100 sites across Kenya. Already, Safaricom has activated 100 4G+ sites in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, as well as parts of Kisii, Naivasha, Kitui, Machakos, Kakamega and Kericho, with more territories scheduled to be switched on in the coming months.
Technically, 4G+ technology allows peak download speeds of 150Mbps,while 4G enables top speeds of between 60-100Mbps. In practical terms,this means that a 30-minute HD video should take a little over two minutes to download on 4G+, while the same video would take around eight minutes to download on standard 4G.
The technology also enables ‘carrier aggregation’, which allows Safaricom customers to benefit from increased bandwidth accessible through the aggregation of different LTE spectrum bands.
“These investments lay the foundation for a more digitally enabled,platform economy. We expect that our network will empower more small and medium enterprises to participate in commerce as well as drive more data use by critical sectors in the education, health and agricultural sectors,” notes Mr. Collymore.
The 4G+ stations will supplement the existing 4,677 2G sites, 3,517 3Gsites and 1,103 4G sites on Safaricom’s network and will complement its proactive fibre rollout strategy that has seen over 50,000 homes and1, 500 commercial buildings passed by its high speed fibre links.
Safaricom was the first operator in Kenya to roll out mobile data in2003 on the 2G platform, before launching the 3G platform in 2007.
It was also the first company to enter the market with 4G services when it launched trials in December 2014. In December 2016, Safaricom paid the industry regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Kshs. 2.5 billion for its 4G license.