Kenyan operator Safaricom has confirmed that it plans to launch a commercial 5G network in 2022.
Prior to commercialising 5G services in 2022, it also plans to increase the number of its 5G sites to 200 by the end of the year.
In March Safaricom launched its upgraded network in major urban centres, including Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega, all of which are areas with strong levels of data traffic. It says it now wants to take high-speed internet to additional towns.
But the Kenyan operator is not alone in targeting high-usage urban areas. Rival Airtel Kenya recently upgraded 600 network sites to meet 5G mobile internet service capabilities with the aim of being ready to roll out services in Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi.
The Safaricom chief executive Peter Ndegwa has been quoted in a number of local news services as saying that the company would use some or all of the 200 5G sites for testing the upgraded network as it seeks to capitalise on burgeoning mobile internet use in the country.
“Testing will allow the company to help customers in terms of speed and reliability,” he said. This process may also help enable the company to accelerate its commercial launch, although Ndegwa did not reveal precise timescales.