Equitel becomes the first MVNO to roll out 5G in Kenya

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February 27, 2024
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2 min read
Equitel
  • Equitel, a mobile virtual network operator, has partnered with Airtel to launch 5G in Kenya to improve services. This development makes the MVNO the first mobile virtual network operator to offer 5G services in Africa. 
  • This development comes two years after the network provider joined several companies, including Airtel, Telkom, and Safaricom, to launch 4G services in the country. 

Equitel confirmed that the expansion of its 5G network will include residential areas, shopping malls, and central business districts.

The new network will connect 370 locations, including Mombasa, Nairobi, Athi River, Kisumu, Kakamega, Bungoma, Eldoret, and Siaya.

To access the Equitel 5G network, users will need a 5G-enabled smartphone and a 4G-LTE SIM card, while those who are still using a 3G SIM card will need to switch to a 4G-LTE SIM card at any Equity Bank branch near them. 

In recent years, the adoption of the 5G network in Kenya has increased significantly. Safaricom launched the country's first 5G service in October 2022, following approximately a year of testing. 

Following this, Airtel launched its 5G service in July 2023, becoming the second telco to launch the service in Kenya. 

Furthermore, many African telcos welcomed the 5G network several years ago. For example, Rain launched its 5G service in South Africa in 2019, and MTN Nigeria became Nigeria's first telecommunications provider to roll out a 5G mobile network in August 2022. 

Also, in November 2022, Orange launched its commercial 5G network in Botswana, while in August 2021, Mauritius Telecom rolled out 5G services in Mauritius. 

According to GlobalComms Database Service's report on 5G deployments in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), 18 countries in the region provide commercial 5G services. Eight are in the Middle East, with the remaining ten in Africa.

By the end of 2022, South Africa dominated the African market with approximately five million subscriptions, while Mauritius trailed far behind with only 80,000 subscriptions, and Nigeria came in third with 50,000 subscriptions.

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