Safaricom announced its plans to launch 5G services in Kenya by the end of 2022. The company accomplished its goal ahead of schedule by rolling out the new network on Oct. 27, 2022, with the aim to connect 10,000 homes and businesses by March 2023. However, the excitement of having faster Internet access has over the last few months dissipated due to the rates.
The Reality of 5G Rates
Here’s a table summarizing the cost of Safaricom’s 5G Wi-Fi plans:
|Monthly Cost (KES)
|Introductory Plan 1
|Introductory Plan 2
|Introductory Plan 3
In order to access Safaricom’s 5G Wi-Fi, users must be in 5G-ready zones, purchase a 5G router from Safaricom for KES 25,000, and pay a setup fee of KES 5,000. After these initial costs, users can then choose from the three introductory packages listed above.
Safaricom also recently introduced mobile data plans, they call them enriched packages due to the high speeds, I don’t know what that means but here’s a table summarizing the cost of Safaricom’s 5G Data plans:
|Price in KES
Safaricom has indicated that they will offer financing models to make 5G smartphones more affordable for Kenyans. However, this does not address the high cost of the 5G Wi-Fi router, which is required to access the network.
As a tech enthusiast living in Kenya, I was definitely excited to hear about the rollout of 5G by Safaricom, I was actually at the launch event. However, my enthusiasm is slowly but surely waning due to the high cost of accessing 5G. The cost of the 5G Wi-Fi router, setup fee, and monthly subscription plans may be too expensive for many Kenyans, myself included. This is particularly concerning given the difficult economic climate that many people in Kenya are currently facing. It is clear that more affordable pricing models must be developed if 5G is to be successful in Kenya.
Safaricom should also have an unlimited 5G data plan. The monthly usage limits imposed by Safaricom’s introductory plans may not be enough for heavy users like myself, who rely on the internet for work and entertainment. I know I would have already exceeded my usage limit, leading to frustration and a significant financial burden. I believe that offering unlimited data plans at a very reasonable cost would be a major step forward for 5G in Kenya, as it would help to drive adoption and ensure that the benefits of this new technology are accessible to as many people as possible.
But let’s give Safaricom their flowers, in terms of coverage, Safaricom’s 5G coverage in Kenya has increased from 11 towns to 28 towns spread across 21 counties including Nairobi, Kiambu, Mombasa, Kisumu, Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Garissa, Kajiado, Kisii Machakos, Kakamega, Kilifi, Siaya, Kericho, Kwale, Laikipia, Marsabit, Meru, Narok, Nyeri and Vihiga Counties. I can basically access Safaricom 5G in my washroom.