Kenya’s giant telco Safaricom has announced that it is going to collaborate with Chinese company Huawei in their 5G network roll out.
This comes at the backdrop of a business rivalry between US and China, with the world’s superpower urging its allies not to do business with Huawei.
However, according to Safaricom acting CEO Michael Joseph, the statement from US does not affect them.
“We will use Huawei in 5G … What will we do in terms of the American statements about not using Huawei? We don’t have that situation in Africa,” said Joseph.
One month ago, it was revealed that Safaricom refarmed (re-assigned) its WiMax frequencies to fixed-wireless 5G service in Nairobi ahead of the much anticipated roll out.
Safaricom acquired the WiMax spectrum frequencies (2.5 and 3.5GHz bands) in 2008, after buying out data company OneCom for USD2.6 million (Ksh260 million)
The initial roll out of 5G network could be limited to parts of Nairobi/Westlands.
According to reports, Safaricom have achieved speeds of up to 750Megabits per second although the real service speeds are expected to be much lower than that.
Internet data demand in the country has exploded over the last few years putting a strain on the existing 3G and 4G networks.
CA statistics indicate internet subscriptions in the country now stand at about 52 million with about half of that (48.5 percent) being on broadband.
With streaming services becoming ever popular, the demand for bandwidth is likely to scale up as services like Netflix, ShowMax, Amazon Prime, Disney and Hulu stage battles for subscribers in the country.
Internet of Things, also called the Facebook of Things, that allows devices to interconnect over the internet is also seen driving demand.
The international bandwidth available for use in the country stands at about 5,300 Gigabits per second of which 1,500 Gbps is utilized. This means there is headroom for growth.