5G presents many opportunities for the economy of African countries. With digital demand exploding, authorities want to bring ultra-broadband connectivity to populations in order to derive maximum benefit from this new technology.
Kenya will roll out the pilot phase of its fifth generation (5G) mobile network this year. Matano Ndaro, the director of licensing, compliance and standards at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), said on Monday February 21 that the regulator has drawn up a roadmap which outlines the strategies to facilitate the deployment of 5G technology.
Matano Ndaro revealed that the regulator will start authorizing the first 5G pilot projects this year, then release the required frequency bands and then issue commercial 5G licenses. “ We are now ready to organize a validation workshop over the next month to discuss the opinions received. Once we adopt stakeholder contributions, we will establish a national 5G forum and allocate pilot frequencies ,” Ndaro said.
This Communications Authority of Kenya announcement comes as telecom operators in Kenya have already begun the process of rolling out 5G infrastructure across the country since 2021. Safaricom, the market leader, launched 5G on March 26 in large cities across the country with the expertise of technology companies Huawei and Nokia. The company was aiming for 250 sites by the end of 2021. Its rival Airtel is ready to switch to ultra-broadband. The company has already upgraded 600 sites in Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi, pending receipt of spectrum. Additionally, several phone makers have launched their 5G-enabled ranges in the country, although these phones are currently too expensive for the average Kenyan.
The ultra-fast connectivity that the regulator is preparing will allow operators in particular to respond to growing digital demand and new consumption patterns. These include smart homes and buildings, 3D video, streaming, cloud work and gaming, remote medical services, virtual reality, augmented reality.