Kenya eyes 5G roll-out in December next year


Kenya eyes 5G roll-out in December next year

In Summary

  • The road-map is currently under the review of stakeholders in the ICT sector until November 1.
  • It shows the regulator plans to implement 5G trial networks in 3.5 giga-hertz (GHz) next month.
  • The CA plans a 5G Summit in January and 5G pilot projects in May.

Kenya seeks to hand over the first commercial licenses for 5G to mobile network operators in December of 2022.

This is according to a new draft policy document mapping out the 5G road map in the country by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) which was published on Tuesday.

The road-map which is currently under the review of stakeholders in the ICT sector until November 1 shows the regulator plans to implement 5G trial networks in 3.5 giga-hertz (GHz) next month.

Subsequently, the CA plans a 5G Summit in January and 5G pilot projects in May.

New 5G spectrum will be auctioned to players in August while mobile network operators (MNOs) will implement commercial 5G networks in November 2022.

“The goal of this road-map is to facilitate implementation of 5G mobile technology for the benefit of the citizens, the economy and industry at large and make Kenya a global leader in 5G mobile technologies,” the CA said.

According to the CA, Kenya seeks to develop innovative new use cases for the new technology to spur social-economic growth and job creation.

The 5G roll-out will be anchored on setting up an ecosystem to enhance the 5G network roll-out, free up frequencies to support 5G, run trials and pilots, awareness campaigns and establish collaboration between telecommunications and other user industries.

5G is the term used to describe the next generation of mobile networks beyond the current 4G/LTE mobile networks.

The switch is expected to bolder capabilities of internet connectivity to include higher bandwidth at over 100 megabytes per second (Mbps) and lower latency and less than one millisecond (0.001 of a second).

The evolution is expected to end in exponential growth for mobile data traffic with more capable smartphones, larger file downloads, streaming and an increase in the number of connected devices.

5G has use cases in a variety of spaces including high-speed home and office broadband, E-farming, smart wearables’, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), big data and remote object manipulation.

CA says it is ready to allocate license-exempt spectrum for 5G use with the new advancement requiring wider frequency bands.

Moreover, the CA will clear the path for sharing certain 5G spectrum to assure adequate spectrum availability.

Among MNOs, Safaricom has already unveiled 15 5G sites and plans to increase the number of the sites to 200 by the end of the year as it gears up for commercial roll-out.

Rival Airtel is also poised to venture into the new connectivity frontier having recently upgraded some of its network sites in readiness for 5G.

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