Airtel Kenya has expanded its 5G network significantly, covering 39 counties and 285 wards with over 690 operational sites. This expansion is in response to the growing number of 5G users in the country. The telco plans to launch an additional 1,000 sites by the end of the year, aiming for a total of 1,690 5G sites.

The number of 5G users in Kenya increased to 509,737 in the three months leading up to September 2023, a 13.3% rise from 449,794 users in June, according to the Communication Authority.

Market Response and Digital Inclusion

Airtel Kenya’s Managing Director, Ashish Malhotra, highlighted the company’s dedication to digital inclusion, driven by positive market feedback. “We are confident that our ongoing network expansion will enable us to extend connectivity to more communities nationwide, ensuring that no one is left behind in the digital revolution,” Malhotra stated.

Airtel launched its 5G service at over 370 sites across Kenya in July 2023, emphasizing the network’s potential to transform sectors like smart cities, education, healthcare, agritech, transportation, and entertainment.

Investment and Future Plans

In August, Airtel Kenya announced a $150 million (KSh21.5 billion) investment over three years to enhance network coverage. The company also planned to add 100 more 5G sites in November.

Competitive Landscape

Kenya has seen significant growth in 5G technology adoption. Safaricom launched the country’s first 5G service in October 2022 and expanded to 35 counties by November 2023. In February 2024, Equitel partnered with Airtel to offer 5G services, becoming Africa’s first mobile virtual network operator to do so.

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