Faiba 4G’s free calls for life are a good reason to buy a new phone

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Faiba 4G LTE Network Kenya
One of the first TECNO Phones to support Faiba VoLTE back in 2018 November

When Faiba 4G was announced, a major reason most people wanted to have their SIM cards was for data. Three years down, the company still offers the cheapest data rates in the market. However, uptake hasn’t been very good because of a couple of limitations by the Faiba 4G network itself:

  1. The LTE Band 28 wasn’t supported by many devices back in 2017/18 when the network went live.
  2. The network was only available in a couple of places at launch. So one wasn’t assured they could get the network where they live.

Well, it is 2020, and from the many phones I’ve received on my desk to review, I’ve noticed one thing. All of them support the Faiba 4G network. That’s for both voice calls, and data. Which means anyone getting the many devices launched in 2020, has a device that’s Faiba 4G ready. So, there’s no longer a need to check posts such as these to know if your phone will support the network.

Back in 2018, the Communication Authority of Kenya laid out requirements for companies looking to sell their devices in the market (Android Kenya🔗), asking them to consider including support for the 700MHz frequency. Two years later, it seems we are seeing this finally becoming a standard on all devices.

Faiba 4G is the first LTE-only network in the market. Apart from offering very cheap data bundles, they also offer free Faiba-to-Faiba calls. A call to their Customer Care just before publishing this article confirms that this isn’t a promo, and that it will always be like that. {Calls to other networks cost KES. 2}.

The advantage of calling over LTE (VoLTE) is that calls are very crisp, connecting times are shorter, and lots of technologies can be built over the VoLTE connection including free video calls, WiFi calling, and other IoT technologies. We can say that such technologies will be seen in the market in the next few years. We’ve all seen the aggressiveness with which Safaricom is pushing the shift to 4G come end of this year. With VoLTE, there’s also no fallback to 2G or 3G when making calls.

With more phones now supporting Faiba’s VoLTE network, and with the offer of free calls for life, if you’ve been considering getting a new phone, also consider getting a Faiba 4G line so that communication becomes free between you and everyone already on the network. If you don’t want to get a whole new smartphone, Faiba sells a smart feature phone dubbed the Wonder Phone, that even acts up as a MiFi device supporting up to 8 users at once.

The major problem however is that the Faiba 4G coverage is still very very limited. Currently, the list of places where the network is available hasn’t been updated for over a year. So many Kenyans still cannot jump on board. You may even be in a town where the network is apparently supported, but coverage where your home is may still be limited. For example, not all parts of Nairobi county get the same coverage, or the same internet speeds. Similarly, Kisumu is listed as covered, but only a couple of areas have actual coverage.

When Faiba launched, there were people saying their entrance would hurt other already existing Telcos like Safaricom, and Airtel. That is yet to happen 3 years down the line. However, if Faiba rapidly expands coverage as more phones now support their network, they could slowly gain market share.



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