If you have a low-end phone, especially TECNO or Infinix Smartphone users, you’ve probably been told you cannot access the new “Faiba 4G” mobile network. And the truth is, you probably cannot. There are very few devices in the market that support this network. And those affected aren’t just low-end smartphone owners. Both low-end and high-end Samsung, LG, HTC, and iPhone owners are affected.
I hope this post (which I hope is quite detailed) will help you understand more on the Faiba 4G network, and on why your phone may not be supported.
Why not all phones?
Well, first of all this is a 4G/LTE only network, so this locks out people whose phones don’t support 4G/LTE networks. If your phone doesn’t support 4G/LTE you’re automatically out.
Secondly there’s something called Frequency. The frequency spectrum is a scarce, natural resource. That’s why there needs to be a regulator to manage the resource. Otherwise things would be haywire.
In Kenya, the Communication Authority is the one that regulates and licences firms to use different parts of the spectrum. Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya have licenses to operate their 4G networks under BAND 20 (800MHZ) and BAND 2 (1800MHZ). And for the first time a mobile network has been given the BAND 28 (700MHZ), which is seen as the best band since it is good for rural areas and good for crowded areas as it penetrates buildings really well.
But not all phones support the 700MHZ Spectrum
Most devices shipping to Kenya don’t support the BAND 28 (700MHZ) range on which Faiba 4G operates. And this isn’t something you can just change. Most phone manufacturers have never added support for this as many Mobile Network Providers around the regions (and the world in general) haven’t been operating on this spectrum.
This is why your phone may be locked out.
Does my device support this?
Most devices owners will be annoyed because very many devices are locked out. If your device doesn’t support BAND 28, you’ll need to get a new device to enjoy Faiba 4G.
Which is why Jamii Telecoms are partnering with Nokia in the coming months as Nokia handsets support the new technology.
You can check Faiba’s Website to check if your device is compatible: https://www.faiba4g.co.ke/4g. There’s a longer list down below too.
The lists may not have youR device. But I have a method down below on how you could check if your phone is supported even if not listed.
The lists aren’t conclusive but hopefully both Faiba 4G and I will add more devices in the coming days that aren’t listed.
So if you have a phone that supports Faiba 4G tell me in the comment section.
Faiba 4G Support is divided into two:
Faiba 4G is gearing up to be essentially Kenya’s first “True 4G” network. Let me explain. If you use for example Telkom Kenya or Safaricom 4G/LTE, any time you make a call, your connection automatically shifts to 3G/2G.
This is because the two have a network infrastructure on 3G and 2G networks and it is easier for them to have you call over 3G or 2G.
Support for Faiba 4G however you’ll find is divided into two because Faiba is 4G/LTE only, and on 4G only things are a bit tricky. Meaning voice has to be carried over 4G/LTE, and that’s a whole new technology. So your device will either:
- Support Faiba 4G Voice and Data (VoLTE) – meaning in addition to fast internet speeds, being able to make calls.
- Support Faiba 4G Data Only – meaning internet only
Support for both Data and Voice (VoLTE):
Currently on the Faiba 4G website the Nokia 2, 5, 6, and 8 are the only ones listed as supporting Voice and Data. Voice support on 4G/LTE is called VoLTE.
VoLTE stands for Voice over LTE. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution which is currently used interchangeably with 4G which means Fourth Generation.
Not many phones that support 4G/LTE support VoLTE. But both MediaTek and Qualcomm Snapdragon processors have over the recent years made chipsets that support VoLTE.
Yet not all phones running these chipsets come with VoLTE open for use. Many times a manufacturer makes a phone that supports VoLTE but locks the feature waiting for a network provider to request for a software update to enable the feature. That’s why the list of VoLTE phones currently is only the Nokia devices.
So YES YOU CURRENTLY HAVE TO OWN A NOKIA 2, 5, 6, OR 8 TO ENJOY FAIBA 4G VoLTE calls and data. Nokia is kind of back…
Anyway, here’s a list of
VoLTE Compatible Processors:
If your phone has the following processors it means you can possibly tweak it (rooting phone may be required) to access Faiba 4G VoLTE. You can also wait up for an update from your phone manufacturer to enable you use Faiba 4G VoLTE.
Snapdragon Chipsets: 210, 400, 410, 415, 425, 430, 435, 615, 616, 617, 625, 650, 652, 800, 801, 805, 808, 810, 820, 821, 823 and 835.
Mediatek Chipsets: MT6752, MT6753, MT6755 (a.k.a. Helio p10), MT6795 (a.k.a. Helio x10), MT6797 (a.k.a. Helio x20), MT6757 (a.k.a. Helio p20), Helio P25 and others probably not listed.
Note that it isn’t automatic that if a chipset supports VoLTE the phone supports or accesses the BAND 28 Spectrum.
Here’s how to
Test if my phone could potentially support Faiba 4G VoLTE:
To know if your phone could support Faiba 4G VoLTE, the device should pass the following test:
- Support 4G networks
- Support the BAND 28, 700MHZ 4G Spectrum
- Have a chipset that supports VoLTE
- Be tweaked by yourself or receive a software update from the Manufacturer to support VoLTE on the network
For example I have a OnePlus 5 which supports VoLTE but that option isn’t available on Faiba 4G network in Kenya. Unless I find a way to tweak the device to enable VoLTE on the Faiba 4G network, I’ll be stuck with data only. My other option is to hope for a software update to roll out support for VoLTE on Faiba 4G network.
Faiba Data Only:
If you wouldn’t mind just enjoying the cheap but fast internet on Faiba 4G without calls and et cetera, all you need is
- a phone that supports 4G
- the phone should also support BAND 28, 700MHZ 4G range
- and that’s all
This means that if your 4G Phone supports the said Band go get yourself a SIM card for internet purposes.
If your Phone doesn’t support BAND 28, you can buy the MiFi router JTL will be selling at just over Ksh. 5000 and get to enjoy their internet services anywhere anytime instead of having to buy a whole new device.
Does my MTK Phone Support Faiba 4G Data?
If you have a Mediatek device (mostly Infinix and TECNO users), here’s how to know if your device supports the Faiba 4G band. Dial *#9646633# to access Engineering Mode. Or download MTK Engineering Mode on Google Play Store.
After accessing engineering mode, go to Band Mode, select SIM and scroll to find out if BAND 28 is checked/ticked. If BAND 28 is checked, then your phone supports Faiba 4G data. And you can get the SIM card for data.
Does my non-MTK Phone Support Faiba 4G Data?
If you have a phone with a different processor from Mediatek, you can go to your device manufacturers website, check the device specifications and under networks check if the 700MHZ band is supported. A website like gsmarena.com will really help you out if your manufacturer doesn’t list all device specifications. Under Network Specifications, check for 4G networks and find out if the 700MHZ band is listed.
You can also use LTE Discovery on Google Play Store to check if your device supports BAND 28.
Here’s a list of the phones that currently support Faiba 4G Data:
- OnePlus: 3T, 5, 5T
- Infinix: Zero 4, Zero 5
- TECNO: CX, CX Air, Phantom 8
- Samsung: A5, A7, S6, S7, S8, Note 4, Note 5, Note 8
- LG: G3, G4, G6, Q6, V10, V30, G5
- Huawei: GR5 (2017), P8, P9, Mate 7, Mate 9, Mate 9 Pro, P10, P10 Plus, Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro
- Motorola: G5, Z, Z2 Play
- Apple: iPhone 6s and above
If you’ve found this post helpful kindly share it around to help others. You can bookmark or save it for future references.
Remember to comment down below if your device supports the BAND 28 so that we can have a full list of devices that do.