Kenyan regulator to pilot 5G in 2022

06 April 2022

The Kenyan telecom regulator will roll out 5G this year, having developed a roadmap that outlines strategies to facilitate the project.

According to Matano Ndaro, the director of licensing, compliance and standards at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), last Feb. 21, the watchdog will start authorising the first next-generation technology pilot projects this year, then release the required spectrum bands and finally issue commercial 5G licences.

“We are now set to hold a validation workshop in the next one month to discuss the comments received. Once we adopt the input from the stakeholders, we shall establish a national 5G forum and allocate pilot frequencies,” said Ndaro.

The regulator is joining several telecom operators that have already begun the process of rolling out 5G in 2021. Kenya’s market leader Safaricom launched 5G on March 26 last year in major cities across the country with support from Huawei and Nokia.

The telco was targeting 250 sites by the end of 2021. Rival operator Airtel is ready to move to ultra-high-speed and has already upgraded 600 sites in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Malindi, waiting to receive the spectrum. In addition, many phone manufacturers have launched their 5G-enabled ranges in the country, although the devices are currently too expensive for the average Kenyan.

The ultra-fast connectivity that the regulator is preparing will, among other things, enable operators to meet growing digital demand and new consumption patterns. These include smart homes and buildings, 3D video, streaming, cloud-based work and play, remote medical services, virtual reality and augmented reality.