Mobile network operator Airtel Kenya has invested $40 billion in acquiring additional spectrum as it seeks to expand its 4G network across the country and roll out 5G in the coming years.
Airtel Africa said in a statement on Monday that the 60MHz licence in the 2600 MHz band issued by the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) is valid from July 2022 to the year 2037.
“This additional spectrum will support our 4G network capacity expansion in the market for both mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband capability and will allow for future 5G rollout, providing significant capacity to accommodate our continued strong data growth in the country,” the firm.
Airtel’s latest investment clears the way for it to widen its 4G network capacity reach for mobile fixed wireless home broadband capability and supports its potential deployment of 5G technology.
Telcos in Kenya are rushing to boost their 4G network coverage and deploy the 5G technology.
Safaricom is currently piloting its 5G network and is planning to deploy 150 sites in 2023. Telkom Kenya, on the other hand, announced plans to add 2000 4G sites to its network by 2023 at a cost of $100 million.
5G is the fifth-generation technology engineered to increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. It offers greater speeds and low latency which is useful for applications that require real-time feedback.
While the 5G network was first introduced in 2019, its uptake in African countries has been slow due to spectrum regulation clarity, deployment deadlines, commercial viability, expensive 5G-enabled smartphones, and costly internet.