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Kenyans ‘Oh-Oh Moment’ when they realize Faiba4G Mobile might not support their current handsets

by Felix Omondi

So Jamii Telecom officially became a mobile service carrier Faiba4G just the other day and left Kenyans an excited lot over the ridiculously affordable mobile data plans in the market. Some say the cheapest mobile data plans across Africa.

One thing is for sure, the end-users (Kenyan consumers) are happy with Faiba4G mobile data pricing, but chances are high most of them will soon be having an ‘oh-oh moment’ pretty soon. For one, the 4G LTE network being offered by the new mobile service carrier Faiba4G mobile network under the prefix 0747 uses 700MHz frequency. That is a new type of wireless technology, which is very different from the 800MHz frequency used by the all the previous mobile services providers; Safaricom, Airtel Kenya, Telekom Kenya, and Equittel.

For users to enjoy the new 700MHz 4G network by Faiba4G, they will need mobile devices with the latest type of wireless chip that supports that network. Here comes the ‘oh-oh moment’! The Kenyan market is shipped mostly with mobile devices (or 4G enabled-devices) that support the 800MHz frequency and not the 700MHz frequency network.

That is to say, for most of Kenyans thrilled about the super-cheap internet package by the new Faiba4G, you will have to change the type of phone you are using first. So it really doesn’t count that the new mobile service carrier is offering their 4G SIM card for free, if you don’t have the compatible hardware, it will be useless to you.

The first thing you need to do is to check whether your current phone supports the 700MHz frequency network. Chances are high it does, given most smartphones that ship to this parts of the world often only supports the 800MHz frequency band. ‘Oh-oh moment’ sinking in now?

You would notice in the Tweet below, I (on a Huawei GR5 2016) was not able to detect the Faiba4G mobile network because this device only supports the 800MHz frequency band.

List of smartphones that support the 700MHz bands in Kenya

Below is a list of smartphones currently in the Kenyan market that does support the 700MHz band. If your phone is on this list, then you need not worry, and you can just go right ahead and grab your free 4G SIM card from Jamii Telecom.

iPhone 6 and later versions including the iPhone SE

Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S7, S7 Edge, S8, S8+, Note 4, Note 5, Note 8, A5 (2016/2017), A7 (2016/2017).

Huawei Mate 7, and 9. Huawei Mate 9 Pro, P10, P10 Plus, 10, and 10 Pro. Huawei P8, P9.

TECNO Camon CX, Camon CX Air, Phantom 8, K8.

Sony Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact, Z3+, Z5, Z5 Compact, Z5 Premium, XZ1, M4 Aqua, C3, XA, XA Ultra, C5 Ultra, C4.

Blackberry Priv, KeyOne, DTEK 50, DTEK 60,

OnePlus 3T, 5, 5T

ZTE Axon 7

LG G3, G4, G6, Q6, V10, V30, G5

OPPO R9 Plus, R7, R7 Plus, R7S, F1s, F5

Moto G4, G4 Plus, Z, G5, Z2 Play

Infinix Zero 4, Zero 5

There’s just Mobile Data support and Mobile Data – VoLTE support

Some of the above devices only support the 700MHz mobile data connectivity but do not support VoLTE, which is what Faiba4G meant when it said it would provide free on-net voice calls. Essentially, you will be using Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) a cutting-edge wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals.

Yes, so go out and buy yourself a compatible handset then pass-by Jamii Telecom offices and grab your free 4G SIM card. I would recommend you be hasty with it, because, the thing with free things, you never know when the stock will run out, or when the company decides to pull the plug on freemium and go premium.

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