Airtel Nigeria Announces Acquisition Of 5G Spectrum
A strategic strand of a broader plan to boost Airtel Nigeria’s mobile data network as well as the power of its fixed wireless home broadband.
Airtel Nigeria announced the purchase of 5G spectrum as well as additional spectrum for its 4G network for a total of $316.7 million on Monday. According to a statement issued by Airtel Africa’s local unit, the decision is part of the company’s commitment to expanding higher-speed connectivity in Nigeria through 5G cellular technology.
The company stated that it paid the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) $316.7 million in cash for 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3500 MHz band and 2×5 MHz of spectrum in the 2600 MHz band.
A strategic strand of a broader plan to boost Airtel Nigeria’s mobile data network as well as the power of its fixed wireless home broadband, the spectrum purchase raises Airtel Nigeria’s current capacity ahead of the rollout of 5G technology.
The company hopes to gain the necessary traction in time to secure a spot in Africa’s largest telecom market’s fifth-generation technology segment, where two early adopters have secured operational licences for 2021.
“The acquisition of 5G spectrum will underpin our growth strategy by enabling the launch of higher-speed connectivity to improve customer service and accelerate digitalization for consumers, businesses, and the public sector,” according to the document.
Airtel Africa shares rose 5.2% to N1,630 per unit on Lagos’ Customs Street at 13:28 WAT on Monday after the news broke, pushing the company’s market value above N6.1 trillion, the highest of any publicly traded company in the country.
Airtel Nigeria gave up an early opportunity to run 5G technology in Nigeria when MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications purchased the two available permits at the NCC’s premier auction in December 2021.
While MTN began operations in August, Mafab requested a five-month extension from the regulator, which was due this month. Nigeria is Airtel Africa’s and the MTN Group’s largest market (the parent company of MTN Nigeria).
Airtel Nigeria has assured that the expansion drive will facilitate faster connectivity, allowing for improved customer service delivery and faster access to digitalization for consumers, businesses, and the public sector.
The corporation is weighing “the shallow penetration of data customers in Nigeria,” where the Alliance for Affordable Internet reports that less than 44% of people have access to smartphones, and sees the gap as an opportunity for growth.
“Nigeria is a market with enormous potential for future growth in mobile services,” said Airtel Africa CEO Segun Ogunsanya.
“Investment in new technologies and local infrastructure to enable this growth is a strategic priority for the group, ensuring we can provide reliable and affordable services to local communities across the country,” he added.