The roll-out of 4G networks by telecom companies is expected to boost the advertising industry, starting this year. Safaricom launched its 4G network last year while Airtel planned to roll out its own before the end of 2015.
By the end of 2015, Safaricom planned to roll out 4G to 13 towns in Kenya from initial Nairobi and Mombasa which were 4G enabled in April 2015.
Speaking during the launch of 4G, Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore said
“Our 4G network is first for Kenya and will enable our customers to experience superfast home broadband and mobile data offerings. The direct impact of data on our economy has already been noted through the increasing number of businesses and services offered online. With 4G, we can deliver revolutionary services.”
To move to 4G Safaricom customers are supposed to visit the Safaricom Retail shops to upgrade to a 4G-enabled SIM card, purchase a 4G capable device and then change “Network Mode” settings to 4G/LTE option.
In May 2015, Airtel also upgraded its 3G network in Nairobi to 4G ahead of the roll out. Speaking during the upgrade, Airtel Kenya CEO Adil el Youssefi said
“The network upgrade in Nairobi has started in order to allow customers to continue accessing uninterrupted quality of service. The network upgrade also makes Airtel Kenya’s network 4G LTE ready.”
4G is the fourth generation of mobile phone communications standards. It is a successor of the 3G and provides ultra-broadband internet access for mobile devices. The high data transfer rates make 4G networks suitable for use in USB wireless modems for laptops and even home internet access.
India which is also rolling out 4G is expected to be a boon to the advertising sector by 10-15 per cent in 2016, according to Deloitte India.
“Advertisers will be spending more money on video ads on hand-held devices in 2016. Advertisers will think mobile-first when making their digital advertising strategy. With more telecom operators ready to launch 4G services, video consumption on mobile will rise even more, thus pushing ad spends on video ads,” remarked Deloitte India’s Ashesh Jani.
Already, some mobile phone companies like Tecno have launched 4G enabled phones like 4G LTE Phantom 5 in Kenya.
Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution or simply 4G LTE supports wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones.
The growth of mobile subscribers in Kenya has been tremendous over the period. According to the Communications Authority’s latest data for the first quarter, financial year 2015/16, July to September 2015,
The Internet/data market has maintained an upward trend with the quarter under review registering 21.6 million up from 19.9 million subscriptions recorded last quarter. Similarly, the estimated number of Internet users stood at 31.9 million up from 29.6 million users estimated during the previous quarter. Subsequently, the population that had access to Internet services reached 74.2 per 100 inhabitants up from 69.0 per 100 inhabitants recorded during the previous quarter.
Mobile data/internet subscriptions contributed 99 per cent of the total Internet subscriptions with the quarter under review registering 21.5 million subscriptions.
It is these 21.5 million subscribers who advertisers will be banking on to grow their revenues courtesy of 4G network. This will be largely through video and text content online.