Nokia announced that it will provide support for the first 5G commercial service in East Africa through Safaricom, the leading telecommunications operator. Nokia’s 5G Single Wireless Access Network (SRAN) technology and 5G FastMile gateway provide ultra-fast fixed wireless access (FWA) services to Safaricom users throughout Kisumu and the western provinces of Kenya.

5G technology will provide Safaricom users with new applications in the fields of virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. It will also benefit companies in important energy, healthcare, education, transportation and entertainment applications.

At the press conference held in Nairobi, Safaricom demonstrated the functions of 5G network through three use cases-5G hologram, ultra-high-definition video communication and virtual fashion shopping. In the holographic display, the real-time 5G network was used to transfer Safaricom executives from Kisumu’s Safaricom office to Nairobi’s launch event. In the second showroom, ultra-high-definition video communication is carried out using WiFi-6 and 5G fixed wireless access connections supported by Nokia Beacon 6. The third virtual shopping showroom will change the shopping experience, allowing users to try on clothes “virtually”.

Nokia uses its AirScale SRAN platform to achieve ultra-low latency, huge connectivity and ultra-strong capacity to support today’s and future needs. 5G networks use massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) radios to improve spectrum efficiency and throughput, thereby maximizing the return on Safaricom’s investment in RAN. In addition, Nokia’s FastMile 5G gateway provides subscribers with fiber-like speeds for fixed wireless services. In addition, the company’s network planning, deployment and integration services ensure the timely deployment of the network.

As part of the network, Nokia 5G Cloud Mobility Manager provides the scalability, flexibility, high availability and performance needed to support the growth of mobile and enterprise services.  Nokia’s NetAct network management system helped Safaricom integrate network views, thereby improving network monitoring and management.

Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom, said: “We are honored to be the first operator in East Africa to launch 5G services, bringing the advantages of 5G technology to our customers. 5G features will change many things for people and businesses in incredible ways to play a key role in realizing our life-changing vision. The technology and service expertise of our long-term partner Nokia has helped us achieve this milestone in providing customers with world-class broadband services.”

Amr K. El Leithy, Senior Vice President of Nokia Middle East and Africa Markets, said: “It has signed more than 200 commercial 5G agreements with leading global customers. Nokia has been bringing 5G networks to all parts of the world. The Safaricom 5G network is the key part that we are committed to working with operators to change the communications landscape. This will open up new business opportunities for Safaricom.”