Demand for faster internet speed has seen fourth generation (4G) countrywide coverage reach 94% according to the latest data from the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA).
The second-quarter data from the authority for the period ended December 31, 2021, indicate that internet subscriptions increased 1.6% to reach 46.4 million while total broadband subscriptions increased 5.4% to reach 28.4 million.
During the period under review, 4G had the largest share of mobile broadband subscriptions with 15.3 million subscribers who used 172.3 million gigabytes compared to 3G mobile broadband with 13 million subscriptions and 72.8 million gigabytes of data used.
“The data-driven digital economy in Kenya is rapidly growing and evolving as a result of expansions in mobile broadband networks such as 3G and 4G. As at the end of 2021, at least 94% of the Kenyan population was covered by 4G-network,” said CA.
CA says mobile phone is still the most preferred means of accessing internet connection noting that, “Connection to fixed broadband and computer use is less spread in the country, smartphones are playing a key role in Internet access and data transfer.”
As at the end of last year, total number of mobile phone devices connected to mobile networks stood at 59.58 million, out of which 33.06 million were feature phones and 26.51 million smartphones.
The penetration levels of feature phones and smartphones stood at 67.9% and 54.5% respectively.
While CA did not give 5G connection statistics, its rollout by Safaricom in March 2021 is expected to see increased coverage with the availability of 5G-ready devices in Kenya.
Kenya became the second country in Africa after South Africa to launch the 5G trials.
CA had projected that 150 will be rolled out within a year after trials began in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega.
The authority backs 5G to provide super-fast internet speed compared to 3G and 4G with the ability to connect 1 million devices per square kilometre compared to 4G which supports just 100,000 per square kilometre.
“The 5G technology will provide higher bandwidth and lower latency connectivity than current generation 4G technology to enable bandwidth in excess of 100s of Megabits per second (Mb/s) with latency of less than 1 millisecond (ms), as well as provide connectivity to billions of devices,” said CA on its Public Consultation Paper on 5G released in November last year.
Data consumption is projected to increase in Kenya with higher demand for video calls, social networking, gaming and video on demand.
Kenya currently has 65.1 million mobile subscribers.