Airtel Nigeria acquires N146b 5G spectrum

By Taofik Salako, Deputy Group Business Editor

Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel Nigeria) has acquired additional spectrum worth N146 billion from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which will enable the telco to roll out 5G services and further expand its existing services.

Airtel Africa Plc, the parent company of Airtel Nigeria, announced the acquisition in a regulatory filing at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).

Airtel Africa’s share price rose by 5.16 per cent or N80 per share to close at N1,630 yesterday at the NGX. Airtel Africa is the largest quoted company at the stock market.

Airtel Africa stated that it purchased 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3500MHz band and 2x5MHz of 2600MHz from the NCC for a gross consideration of $316.7 million, payable in naira.

With a presence in 14 countries across Africa, Nigeria is Airtel Africa’s largest market, with significant growth potential.

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Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa Plc, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya said the additional spectrum will support the group’s investments in network expansion for both mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband capability, including 5G rollout, providing significant capacity to accommodate continued strong data growth in the country and exceptional customer experience.

He noted that the company had led the industry in providing affordable 4G services across the country following the deployment of a fully modernised network which facilitated a four-fold increase in data traffic over the last three years.

According to him, the penetration of data customers in Nigeria remains low, providing significant opportunity for future growth.

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“Nigeria is a market with enormous potential for future growth in mobile services. Investment in new technologies and local infrastructure to enable this growth is a strategic priority for the group and will ensure we are able to provide reliable and affordable services to local communities across the country.

“5G is critical to these ambitions, and we look forward to launching new services to drive further digitalisation across the country, facilitate economic progress and transform lives across Nigeria,” Ogunsanya said.

He outlined that the acquisition of 5G spectrum will underpin the group’s growth strategy by enabling the launch of higher speed connectivity to enhance customer service and accelerate digitalisation for consumers, enterprises and the public sector.

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He listed the key benefits of 5G to include higher speeds, lower latency, significant network capacity as well as an improved user experience.

He pointed out that the deployment of 5G will accelerate the availability and efficiency of fixed wireless access products across the country, contributing towards Airtel Nigeria’s progress in meeting the National Broadband Plan targets.

He assured that the acquisition of 2600MHz spectrum will complement the group’s already strong spectrum position in the market to enhance network capacity and future-proof growth opportunity.

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