The East African country of Kenya has a new 4G LTE mobile operator, Jamii Telecommunications Limited (JTL). JTL is also known by the brand name, Faiba. The company has launched Faiba 4G mobile, a wireless 4G network that runs on the 28(700) MHz frequency band.
Faiba is making a play for pure data – offering 4G mobile internet and Voice Over LTE (VoLTE), a service that makes IP calls possible over a 4G network. It is first VoLTE service in Kenya.
Faiba 4G Mobile Shakes Things Up
Like Glo did in Nigeria, and Reliance Jio did in India, Faiba 4G Mobile is shaking things up on Kenya with mobile data tariffs. For example, the new operator is offering a 25 GB data bundle with 30 days validity for just 1,000 Kenyan shillings. By comparison, 1,000 shillings gets subscribers just 3 GB data on Safaricom Kenya. The same amount will get you 4GB data on Telkom Kenya.
Faiba 4G Mobile has been assigned the mobile number prefix 0747 and is also offering its subscribers free on-net calls for life. Initial coverage is limited to Nairobi, Kikuyu, Rongai, Kiambu Road, Thika Road and regions about, but should extend to other towns and cities soon.
700 MHz Spectrum
Faiba is the first 4G mobile operator to use the 700 MHz frequency band in Kenya. Using the 700MHz spectrum means that Faiba 4G can cover wider areas faster and provide better quality in indoor environments.
The challenge of handset incompatibility is one that the network and subscribers will have to face. There are not a lot of LTE smartphones in existence that support the 28(700) band, but the number is increasing and availability is getting better.
The company says that subscribers can look forward to experiencing speeds of up to 72Mbps on their 4G mobile network. It looks like a mobile data tariff revolution is on the way in Kenya. Existing operators are expected to respond with better data bundles, even if they do not match what Faiba is offering.