Safaricom has launched its 4.5G network in the Kenyan cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. 4.5G is also called 4G Plus or LTE Advanced. 4.5G networks provide faster mobile data speeds than regular 4G networks.
What is a 4.5G network?
4.5G is a faster, more robust version of 4G that uses what is called Carrier Aggregation. In simple terms, a 4.5G network uses multiple 4G LTE frequencies at the same time to provide faster speeds. For example, a 4.5G (4G Plus) network can combine LTE 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz bands together.
That is like adding more lanes to a road: more cars can move at the same time and they can move faster. In technical circles, it is called LTE Advanced. 4.5G networks have been around for about three years now.
How Fast Is 4.5G?
4.5G networks deliver speeds of up to 150 Mbps. Some, e.g. Vodafone Ireland, have been known to up this to 225 Mbps, which is up to three times faster than regular 4G. In Nigeria, Ntel launched the country’s first 4.5G network in 2016, offering a theoretical maximum speed of 230 Mbps. Of course, theoretical maximum speeds are not often attainable in everyday usage due to several factors.
Where Does Safaricom Have 4.5G Coverage?
Initial coverage is available where Safaricom has 4G coverage. These include the cities of Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu. The operator also says that parts of Kisii, Naivasha, Kitui, Machakos, Kakamega and Kericho are covered as well.
What Do You Need To Do To get 4G Plus on Safaricom?
- On the device side, you will need to purchase a 4G Plus compatible smartphone, tablet, mifi, or dongle to be able to use a 4.5G network. The same goes for mobile broadband dongles and Wi-Fi modems.
- On the network side, you need to do nothing. If you are subscribed to a data bundle on Safaricom, 4G Plus is automatically available to you if you are within coverage area.
If your device is not compatible with a 4.5G network, it will fall back to regular 4G, 3G or 2G, depending on available coverage.