Safaricom 5G trials in Kenya

Well,I think very few of us care about 5G anymore considering 4G LTE is serving us well enough.

great work, Thank you. this info will make my choice clear.

Well, some few updates.
I’ve been passively hunting Safaricom 5G for the past month. As at 20th September 2021, i have roamed around Garissa, Garsen, Hola, Thika, Thika Road, Ngong Road, Nairobi CBD, Industrial Area, Southern bypass from Langata to Kikuyu. Nakuru, Eldoret, Kitale, Kapenguria, Lodwar , Bomet, Narok where i haven’t picked any 5G signal.
I have seen Tweets of folks receiving Safaricom 5G in Kilifi and Amboseli.

Back to my story, on Friday, i passed through Kisii and was almost giving up then picked the signal around Posta and ABSA area. Below are the photos and some screenshots.
I had nperf app ready for mapping and Netmonster for logging cells.

Standby screen.

A Google search of band code ARFCN 635328 from Netmonster confirms the frequency if 3.5Ghz.

Here is the conversion.

So Safaricom is using the 3.5Ghz frequency as stated in one of the Tweets quoted above.

As stated in my previous post, Safaricom is implementing a Non stand alone 5G which means you can’t receive 5G without 4G. Netmonster indicates that carrier aggregation is 10Mhz+20mhz+20Mhz. for 5G.

In the screenshot, Safaricom is using 3 bands of which two are 4G and one is 5G! Check the 3CC icon/symbol on top left of the screen shot.
Note that for 4G+, the carrier aggregation bandwidth is 10Mhz+20Mhz.
I did some speed test as indicated below. Gulps around 300Mb of data per test.

Highlighted below are the speeds compared to Waiyaki Way test.

Finally, as the signal waned, Netmonster had an interesting take.

Nperf couldn’t log the 5G signal, somehow it mapped it as 4G+ hence Kisii doesn’t appear on the nPerf 5G coverage map.

In other news. I’ve noticed Airtel has deployed 4G on Band 1(2100Mhz) , Band 20 (800Mhz) and Band 3(1800Mhz). Airtel 4G coverage in Kenya is improving rapidly.


All these areas within 1 Month!?


Any 5G coverage in Nakuru!

Yes. I moved around for other engagements so i took advantage to hunt signals.

Been there on 4 different days, not picked any 5G signals.

Have you tried Ookla 5G Map - Tracking 5G Network Rollouts Around the World

It has limited data, did some 5G speed tests and hope they update it.

I also picked 5G signals outside Two Rivers Mall.

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Have you tried Mombasa?

I’ve not but i might visit next month. Check the Tweet below.
I am on Twitter: “5G on the ocean. Gaddamit” / Twitter

I like the way people are running all over the place hunting 5G like it was bigfoot. What makes it so funny to see is knowing that when it is finally launched Safaricom will charge an arm and a leg for it. I saw someone saying that they’ll have to do away with FUP on 5G. The writing is on the wall. Safaricom has FUP on Fiber connections. How, then, do you expect truly unlimited data on a wireless connection?


That does explain the Ksh. 20 for a gb of data only for an hour

I don’t think so. I think they’ll keep the same pricing. if its fixed, they’ll follow the same tiered pricing in 4G/LTE fixed plans but may add more packages. If its the usual bundles, the unit price will remain the same. Its the same price across 2G,3G and 4G. If you recall, they tried differentiated pricing in the early LTE days but it didn’t work out.

I think its great and should be implemented ASAP!

Signal is only received along a very short radius from the Twin Towers… Makes one wonder if they can’t achieve reasonable 5G Coverage just next to their HQ, how implementable is it Citywide!

Range and wall penetration are the shortcomings of 5G.

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Why have 5G then cap speed at 10Mbps.

On the non dedicated table, they still call it 4G wireless which leads me to think it’s just 4G/5G, not a 5G exclusive package(should be 4G/5G non dedicated packages). Secondly, they don’t say it’s a cap…maybe it’s just a max speed you should expect. It could be higher but 10Mbps is what you would ordinarily get as a max speed.

Edit: I checked the terms sheet. They have two separate tables for 4G and 5G non dedicated packages. Pricing is the same in both. The difference comes in the speeds. If you have 5G in your area, you benefit form higher speeds(max at 10Mbps for 5G, 5Mbps for 4G. Again, they don’t say it’s a cap and there is no FUP)

This is what I didn’t understand