Kenya’s largest mobile service provider – Safaricom has been ranked as the best network to make calls and access data in the country. The telco outpaced Airtel and Telkom to become the best network for calls and data by umlaut. The win effectively puts the service provider in a driver’s seat for a fourth year in a row. Umlaut performed Drive Tests across the country, comparing all available networks against each other in voice and data quality.
According to umlaut, Safaricom was the only mobile service provider in the country to offer Voice Over LTE – commonly referred to as VoLTE across the country including rural areas which somehow gave it a head start to outpace other providers in the country. Safaricom unveiled VoLTE sometimes in 2019, allowing subscribers to experience high-definition voice when making calls with supported devices. Alongside VoLTE launch, Safaricom also introduced a range of supported devices that were significantly affordable such as the Neon Ray and Neon Nova – costing KS 3,999 and KS 5,999 consecutively.
Speaking on the announcement, Safaricom’s CEO Peter Ndegwa said it was an honor for the company to emerge Best in Test for a fourth year in a row. Ndegwa further said the position was proof of the firm’s commitment to provide customers in the country with the best technology as well as connectivity regardless of where they are.
Tests done by umlaut showed Safaricom attaining an average download speed of up to 58.5 Megabits per second (Mbps) and an average upload speed of 36.4Mbps. in terms of voice, the telco achieved an impressive High-Definition voice quality calls on its network with a call setup of less than 2 seconds.
While congratulating Safaricom, umlaut CEO Telecommunications Hakan Ekmen said users on the network had achieved the best experience in the country. Hakan further acknowledged the challenges faced as a result of the pandemic, but praised Safaricom for maintaining a remarkable service in terms of voice and data quality.
Safaricom has so far deployed more than 90 percent of its network to support VoLTE which enables subscribers to make calls as well as access data on 4G speeds at the same time. Compared to traditional networks, which throttles data access whenever a call is made or received, VoLTE will maintain the same connection whether a call is made or not.
Deployment of 4G carrier aggregation technology on its networks helped Safaricom to emerge top in mobile data performance. The telco exceeded 20 Megahertz in data upload test, beating other providers who failed to surpass the mark. 4G Carrier Aggregation is a technology that Safaricom uses to combine its 4G bandwidth on both the 1800 and 800 frequency bands. As a result, subscribers on the network can then establish more than one simultaneous connection to network masts thereby achieving more than 150 percent speeds of a typical 4G connection.