Over the past two decades, Kenya has witnessed a remarkable evolution in its digital landscape, ushering in a transformative era of technological advancement. The journey began with simple flip feature phones, with barely 10 per cent penetration in the early 2000s. A 2022 report by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics reveals that almost half the population currently owns mobile devices.
Widespread mobile connectivity has laid the ground for expanding digital services and innovation in various sectors. That is, with the growth of the internet and the emergence of 3G and 4G networks, there has been increased access to information, sparking the development of e-commerce platforms and digital marketplaces, providing opportunities for businesses to reach broader audiences and consumers to access a wide range of products and services conveniently across the globe.
The government, also recognising the significance of a thriving digital economy, has taken bold steps to support its growth in the country. That has happened through the deployments of various initiatives such as the Digital Master plan (2022-2032), Constituency Innovation Hubs, and National Broadband Strategy, just to name a few. The government has made progress in enhancing ICT infrastructure development, fostering innovation, and deepening the sector’s contribution to overall socio-economic growth.
As the 5G network gains traction in Kenya, it opens up limitless possibilities for the telco industry and the digital sphere, revolutionising how we live, work, and do business as a society.
5G is the fifth generation of mobile networks which boasts the ability to deliver faster data transfer speeds, lower latency, and higher bandwidth bringing with it the promise of better reliability than its predecessors.
With ultrafast speeds, 5G offers significantly faster download and upload speeds, up to multi-GigaBits per second (Gbps). This means users can now enjoy seamless streaming of high-definition video content, quick file downloads, smoother online gaming experiences, and real-time high-quality video calls without buffering delays.
Undoubtedly, the fast and reliable speeds that 5G brings will also tremendously impact the remote work model that the Covid-19 pandemic forced upon us in 2020. Professionals will be able to collaborate and participate in virtual meetings in an improved and transformed way, utilising the game-changing Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies. Boosted productivity, increased work flexibility, and improved work-life balance are inherent in 5G, eventually leading to cost savings for businesses.
Another impressive feature of 5G is its ultralow latency. By reducing the time it takes for data to travel between devices and the network, 5G will enable near-instantaneous communication, enhancing real-time communication. This will revolutionise key sectors such as healthcare and education, enabling equal access to all.
Further, because 5G networks can support a significantly larger number of connected devices simultaneously compared to previous generations, the expansion and evolution of Internet of Things technology is imminent.
Mr Ashish is the MD of Airtel Kenya