JTL’s Faiba 4G came about in late 2017 with promises of a speedy network that also supports VoLTE calls. One of the major selling points of Faiba 4G was affordable data, going for as little as Kshs 50 for 1GB of 4G LTE data per day.
Nearly two years down the line, the product has yet to gain significant traction in the country. In fact, Faiba 4G is still nowhere near the likes of Telkom Kenya and Airtel Kenya, two companies that are still playing catch up to industry leader, Safaricom.
One reason Faiba 4G hasn’t taken off is the limited number of supported devices. To use the network, one needs a device that supports band 28 (700MHz). Despite the CA revising its guidelines for devices sold in Kenya seemingly to suggest that they would all support Faiba 4G, a host of devices in the new Samsung Galaxy A series still don’t include support for the required band 28.
Having been tipped about the missing band 28 support on the Galaxy A70, I set to find out more about the other devices in the Galaxy A series. To my surprise, with the help of info from GSMArena since Samsung hasn’t provided this info in the devices’ specs sheets, I found that only the Galaxy A80 supports Faiba 4G’s band 28.
As for the rest, including Galaxy A50, Galaxy A30, Galaxy A20, and Galaxy A10, you can’t use them on JTL’s network, not even for data only. It’s strange that Samsung ditched support for Faiba 4G on smartphones that are meant to catapult its resurgence in the budget segment in Kenya, but then again, for a network that is hardly making any waves in the country, it makes sense that Samsung didn’t bother to spend money on adding the said band 28.
Interestingly, a bunch of older Samsung phones in the Galaxy A and J series support Faiba 4G, although some don’t go beyond the data-only functionality.
Could this mean that Faiba 4G isn’t heading anywhere after all? Maybe, maybe not, but time will tell.