Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


Safaricom Boasts Enhanced 4G Service With LTE-A Deployments

Article Image
While much of Africa is still waiting for 3G, some Kenyans can now hook up to the latest generation of 4G technology for their mobile broadband connections.

Safaricom Ltd. , which has rolled out "regular" 4G at more than 1,100 locations across the country, says it has deployed LTE-Advanced (a.k.a. LTE-A or 4G+) capabilities at 100 cell sites in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, as well as some parts of Kisii, Naivasha, Kitui, Machakos, Kakamega and Kericho, with more to follow.

According to the operator, the move will enable users to experience faster mobile broadband connections -- thanks in part to a technique called "carrier aggregation" that enables the bonding of spectrum bands -- and offer improved voice service quality.

"Our tests reveal that 4G+ allows us to offer the fastest network speeds, as it is two times faster than 4G and eight times faster than 3G," says Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore in a press release, adding that such faster connections "not only benefit the customer, they also empower small businesses" that can use 4G+ connectivity for business purposes. "We expect that our network will empower more small enterprise to participate in commerce as well as drive more data use by critical sectors in the education, health and agricultural sectors," he added.

'We expect that our network will empower more small enterprise to participate in commerce' -- Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.
"We expect that our network will empower more small enterprise to participate in commerce" -- Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.

So, how much faster will these connections be? Safaricom notes that 4G+ enables peak downstream speeds of 150 Mbit/s, compared with 4G's peak speeds of 60-100 Mbit/s. "In practical terms, this means that a 30-minute HD video should take a little over two minutes to download on 4G+, while the same video would take around eight minutes to download on standard 4G," says the operator.

Such capabilities can only help the operator to further grow its mobile data revenues: In its full-year results for the year ending 31 March 2017, Safaricom reported 38.5% year-on-year growth in mobile data revenues to 29.3 billion Kenyan shillings (US$283 million).

The operator, Kenya's clear market leader with more than 28 million customers and more than 70% market share, says its mobile network now comprises 4,677 2G sites, 3,517 3G sites and 1,103 4G sites.

Safaricom acquired its 4G license for KSh2.5 billion (US$24.2 million) in December 2016, ahead of its rivals Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya, which have lagged behind in meeting the conditions for securing the pre-approved licenses.

Safaricom has been busy lately -- check out these other recent headlines:

— Ray Le Maistre, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, International Group Editor, Light Reading for Connecting Africa.

Innovation hub


Hot startup of the month: SA's FlexClub

South African startup FlexClub has launched a managed marketplace that helps independent drivers on digital platforms become vehicle owners.


Econet and X's Project Taara join forces to connect Africa

Econet Group and Google X's Project Taara are teaming up to deploy new high-speed Internet technology to communities across sub-Saharan Africa.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

AfricaCom perspectives


AfricaCom Interview: Onica Makwakwa on closing the digital gender gap

The Alliance for Affordable Internet's head of Africa, Onica Makwakwa, shares her views on how to narrow the digital gender gap and the challenges keeping women offline on the continent.


AfricaCom Interview: Tunde Fafunwa on how the ACIP is fighting COVID-19

Tunde Fafunwa from the UN Economic Commission for Africa explains how the Africa Communication and Information Platform (ACIP) is helping Africa's battle against COVID-19.


AfricaCom Interview: Temidayo Oniosun on Africa's space and satellite industry

Space in Africa founder, Temidayo Oniosun, shares his views on the challenges and opportunities in the African space and satellite industry.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Partner perspectives

SD-WAN and satellite – how MNOs and telcos can enjoy the best of both worlds
By Ofer Asif, SVP BizDev, marketing and strategy at Spacecom

Africa's mobile operators need better roaming monetization for growth
By Damion Rose, product manager for Mobile Signaling and Roaming Solutions at BICS

How Africa's operators are driving socio-economic development
By Clémentine Fournier, VP Sales Africa at BICS

All Partner Perspectives

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Green ICT Forum
December 2, 2020
Virtual Event
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

AfricaCom 2020 Digital Symposium - Day 2

Session One

Mobile Money 2.0: the Bright Future of Mobile Financial Service Innovation
Date: 08/20/20 @ 11:00 A.M. SAST

Speaker: Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Africa was the birthplace of Mobile Money and while it continues to rise in popularity, the industry is quickly evolving and launching more mobile-based financial services every day. In this Connecting Africa online event, local analysts and industry stakeholders will discuss how telcos are disrupting the financial services space and what the rise of Mobile Money 2.0 will look like for Africa.

  • From cash to mobile: heading towards a cashless society
  • Expanding MFS offerings beyond mobile money transfers
  • MNOs vs banks vs fintechs: an evolving competitive landscape
  • Unconnected and unbanked: fintech to improve financial inclusion
  • The rise of micro-loans and insurance through mobile platforms

12:15 P.M. - 12:30 P.M. BREAK

Session Two

Connecting the Next Billion: Strategies for Getting Africa On-Grid
Date 08/20/20 @ 12:30 P.M. SAST

Speaker: Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Africa has the fastest growing population in the world and also the youngest, with 60% of Africans under the age of 25. It is clear that the next billion connected are going to be the mobile-only generation. This digital symposium will bring industry experts together to discuss Africa’s digital divide and how to get devices into the hands of young Africans and empower them to join the digital revolution.

  • Who’s Driving? The role of government & regulator, private tech companies, and public-private partnerships
  • Device affordability: are we reaching a tipping point?
  • Status check: Satellite vs Fiber and the enduring infrastructure gap
  • Exploring the wider societal and economic benefits of a connected, digitally literate continent

More Webinars


Safaricom Spark Fund Portfolio

Infographics archive


AfricaCom 2019 Preview

Slideshow archive

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up