Safaricom decided to slow down the 5G rollout in Kenya and focus on the 4G network. According to CEO Peter Ndegwa, the decision was motivated by the high cost of 5G phones which retail prices exceed Ksh100,000.
“Until handsets that can receive 5G are at a sufficient scale from an individual mobile perspective, there isn’t a big need to have lots of sites that offer 5G,” he explained.
The telecom operator is now targeting homes and offices in areas not currently covered by its fiber-optic network with the broadband internet platform as it seeks to capitalize on the surge in usage of mobile internet in the country.
The Kenyan Communications Authority (CA) granted Safaricom 60 MHz of spectrum in the 2600MHz band to carry out a commercial 5G network. Developing ultra-high-speed broadband is critical to the telecom operator as it wants to leverage its mobile data and payments businesses to offset the slow growth of its call segment, which is impacted by market saturation.
Revenue from mobile data increased by 8.1% to Ksh48.4 billion for the fiscal year 2022 ended March 31 while revenue from the M-Pesa mobile payment service increased 30.3% to Ksh107.6 billion. Revenues from the call segment witnessed a slight increase of 0.8% to Ksh83.2 billion.