Kenya’s telecommunications giant Safaricom Limited has launched an expanded 4G network which will now be fully available in seven cities. Nakuru, Elodret, Meru, Kisii and Kisumu and the surrounding areas now have full 4G coverage, Safaricom said. This follows the earlier launch at the end of 2014 in the two largest cities, Nairobi and Mombasa which will now be fully available in seven cities across the country.
Safaricom said it now offers high-speed broadband in a total 30 counties. The 4G expansion is part of its investment programme to launch 500 new base stations by year-end. The expanded roll-out will bring the firm’s 3G and 4G footprint to more than 4,600 sites and comes in response to a 77 percent increase in data usage per customer in the year to May.
These 4G initiatives will cement the country’s position as a regional mobile innovation and positions Kenya as one of Africa’s leading markets with fast, affordable broadband internet.
The operator is also stepping up its efforts to commercialise the faster service and launched two new data bundles. Customers can buy a weekly 200 MB data bundle at KES 99 or a monthly 5GB data bundle for KES 1,499. That follows its previous offer of 130 MB for KES 100 a week and 3 GB for KES 1,000 a month. New 4G subscribers will also get 4GB of data free for two days to test out the network. The company hopes the new offers will encourage customers to swap their SIM cards for new 4G-enabled SIMs.
Safaricom launched My Data Manager tool a few months ago to gives customers power to control data bundle usage. This tool, available on any handset from a short code,*100*2#ok (prepay)or *200*2#ok post pay my data manager and follow the prompts will allow customers to block further data use after using up their bundle.
Also new is the My Subscriptions Management app. This hands customers the power to view their active subscriptions (data, SMS, Skiza and premium rate services) and manage their subscriptions by adding more services or unsubscribing from active services.
The expansion of Safaricom’s LTE network has been delayed in part by the company awaiting confirmation of its spectrum licence.