The Communications Authority of Kenya has outlined a set of new guidelines that every smartphone vendor in Kenya must adhere to from now henceforth. There are plenty of them which we’ll highlight in a more detailed post (update: read it here), but one that has quickly caught my attention is the requirement that every smartphone sold in Kenya ought to support JTL’s Faiba 4G that works on band 28 (700MHz).
With the ongoing data wars among Kenyan telcos, one way JTL was losing this battle is the limited number of devices supported (besides the not-so-wide coverage across the country). However, as far as value for money is concerned, the offers on Faiba 4G are simply unbeatable. Well, the CA’s guidelines are here to address one of JTL’s major issues – limited device support.
Although this is a good step, I don’t like the tone or rather the manner in which the guideline addresses this issue. To quote, the CA says that “Preferably, a mobile cellular device should also operate within the following 4G frequency bands” and on the list is Safaricom and Telkom’s 800MHz joined by Faiba 4G’s 700MHz.
I would have preferred the use of MUST to send a message to smartphone vendors that this isn’t an option, but I hope they do take it as a strict requirement. Up to now, only a handful of smartphones are compatible with JTL’s wireless network, mostly those from HMD Global and a bunch of midrange and high-end phones from Samsung and Oppo, among others.