Today on 4th December 2014 Safaricom Kenya Ltd becomes the first operator in Sub Saharan Africa to launch LTE Advanced Safaricom 4G Network which will offer peak speeds of up to 100Mbps.
This comes after several months of testing in 4G sites in Nairobi although the service was not available to consumers. The service is now available in Nairobi and Mombasa with places like Gigiri, Runda, Buruburu, Lower Kabete, Parkands in Nairobi and Mombasa Island and Changamwe in Mombasa already having 4G LTE service.
Safaricom has sights set on March 2015 for complete coverage of Nairobi and Mombasa, by March 2016 there will be coverage of 15 counties and in 36 months the company will have covered all counties.
Safaricom 4G LITE has been made available on the 800MHz spectrum that Safaricom acquired for 75 million USD and aligned to the closing of the contract to provide the Kenyan government with security surveillance contract. Safaricom also spent 82 million USD to acquire 450 sites and other network infrastructure from Essar.
Safaricom now becomes the first to 4G LTE-A in the African Continent. This comes after Safaricom was also the first mobile network to launch 3G in Kenya in 2008 and faster HSPA connections in 2012. Bob Collymore went further to affirm to Kenyans that “This is the best 4G in the whole continent of Africa and at 100MBps is the fastest in Africa,” He further added that 4G LTE will not only make an impact to consumers on their phones but also in banking, education and telemedicine which will become more accessible to both enterprises and their consumers.
Safaricom currently has over 100,000 LTE ready smartphones and Safaricom has a plan to bring the costs down for devices to as low as Kshs 9,000. What users need to have to use 4G on their phones is a 4G ready smarphone and a new SIM card that accepts 4G. The current SIM cards in use are not compatible to 4G but the new 4G SIM cards are backwards compatible.