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Safaricom expands 4G network to meet growing broadband demand

For the past two years, Safaricom mobile data users across the country have been limited to 3G service but with the expansion of 4G, slow internet speeds are but a bad memory.

4G is essentially the fourth generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology that boasts of significant improvements in data speeds and latency to the 3G.

The service was launched on Friday in a colorful activation at the Wilson Airport in Nairobi. About 300 lucky customers were treated to a different type of airtime, as the telco giant gave them free chopper rides to all seven cities that now have 4G.

Safaricom customers with 4G enabled devices can now enjoy the service in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Meru and Kisii.

The company also announced a few new goodies that include a 36% reduction in data pricing, cheaper 4G devices at Safaricom shops and specialized 4G bundles.

The development brings the total number of counties covered by the service up to 30.

MOBILE DATA USAGE

“As announced during our full year results in May, we have experienced a 77 percent increase in mobile data usage per customer, with overall smartphone ownership more than doubling. Our continuing initiatives to enhance the network experience will ensure that we continue to progress our vision to democratize data for all Kenyans,” said Sylvia Mulinge, Director – Consumer Business, Safaricom.

Safaricom is currently on an ambitious rollout program to put up an additional 500 4G base stations before the end of the year.

The expanded rollout will bring the firm’s 3G and 4G footprint to more than 4,600 sites.

To drive mobile data uptake, Safaricom has implemented a 36  per cent reduction in data pricing even as it continues its investment in building the most advanced 2G, 3G and 4G capability.

Safaricom customers can now purchase a weekly 4G 200 MB data bundle at Sh99 while monthly 4G data bundles will be priced as low as Sh1,499 for a 5 GB data bundle.

Customers on 4G can do more with five times faster internet speeds that guarantee buffer-free, crystal-clear videos and music streaming, faster social media uploads and instant downloads.

4G ENABLED

To empower customers to have control over their spending, Safaricom recently introduced My Data Manager, which allows users to manage how their data is used. Customers can dial *544# to access My Data Manager.

The company also has a number of devices that are optimized for the 4G experience, including the Neon Turbo 7 and the Samsung Z2.

Subscribers upgrading to 4G will also be rewarded with a free 4 GB bundle for them to experience the technology and the speeds it delivers.

All Safaricom customers can check if they have a 4G enabled SIM card by dialing *544# and selecting “Safaricom 4G Bundles and SIM Check”.

Safaricom will offer free SIM Swaps for customers switching to 4G SIM cards.

In 2003, Safaricom became the first operator in Kenya to roll out mobile data on the 2G platform; and five years later, was again the first to launch its 3G platform.