Kara in collaboration with Safaricom PLC hosted a Webinar to discuss the 5G technology and its impacts on the ICT sector and consumers in Kenya.

The theme of the webinar was “What does the roll out of 5G technology mean for Kenya’s ICT Industry and Consumers?” Speakers who addressed the Webinar were Mr. James Maitai, Director pf Network, Safaricom PLC; Mr. Zephaniah Ouma, Ag. Director of Compliance & Enforcement, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Mr. Tom Olwero, Director, Frequency Spectrum Management, Communications Authority of Kenya.

Mr. Maitai stated that Safaricom was the second country in Africa to deploy 5G network which is expected to drive smart cities and IoT in urban and rural areas. He noted that Safaricom recently launched 5G network in five Counties, including Nairobi, Kisumu and Kisii, and seeks to expand the high-speed Internet to other areas across the country.  He noted that currently Safaricom is monitoring its base stations through IoT. He also gave examples of 5G use cases in Kenya for instance on Smart Connectivity, he pointed out that 5G will bring high-speed mobile broadband to crowded areas, enable consumers to enjoy high-speed streaming for in-home, screen and mobile devices on demand, and will allow enterprise collaboration services to evolve.  He added that other 5G use cases in Kenya will include; virtual education, preventive healthcare, auto vehicle inspections, mixed reality, gaming, shopping, entertainment and agriculture.

In terms of health and safety of the new 5G technology, Mr. Maitai stated that Safaricom developed and maintains an EMF policy that ensures that network activities pose no risk to the health and safety of employees, contractors and the communities. The company also provides a mechanism through which RF/EMF questions and grievances are addressed, and also complies with the set standards/guidelines on Non-Ionizing radiation.

Mr. Zephaniah gave highlights on the role of NEMA in roll out of the new 5G Technology which include risk management and enforcement; risk communication; establishing precautionary measures to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields;Environmental Impact Assessment & Environmental Auditto ensure appropriate environmental and social safeguards and ensuring compliance by equipment manufacturers and service providers on the set standards and restrictions. He also pointed out some of the challenges experienced by NEMA in risk managementwhich include, business rivalry among the service providers; inconclusive research work from WHO, IARC, ICNIRP, and public anxiety on the new technology.

Mr. Olwero stated that The Communications Authority is currently developing a 5G roadmap that will provide clear framework on the roll out of the new technology in Kenya. He noted that the roadmap has identified the various use cases and bands that the new technology will be rolled out on.The roadmap will be shared with key stakeholders to add their views. He stated that the Authority will continue to exercise its mandate by ensuring that telecommunication operators adhere to the set regulations that limit human exposure to electromagnetic radiation. He added that the Authority is committed to creating a conducive environment that promotes innovation in the country and allows utilization of the new technologies such as the 5G.

You can find a link to the Webinar here: