Airtel Africa has made an announcement that its Nigerian subsidiary, Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel Nigeria), has successfully renewed its 2×10 MHz 2100 MHz spectrum license by paying a whopping sum of N58.7 billion to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). The company's statement, which was addressed to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and signed by Company Secretary Simon O’Hara, was recently released.
According to the statement, the renewed license will be valid for 15 years after the expiration of the previous license on 31st April 2022. Airtel Nigeria expressed its commitment to Nigeria, stating that the license renewal is a reflection of their confidence in the potential opportunities in the Nigerian market. The statement also revealed that the investment to renew the license will aid in supporting the local communities and economies by promoting digital inclusion and connectivity.
In January 2023, Airtel Africa's Nigerian subsidiary made a $316.7 million purchase from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3500MHz band and 2x5MHz of 2600MHz, payable in the local currency.
According to the telco, the additional spectrum will support their investments in network expansion for mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband capabilities, including 5G rollout. This will provide significant capacity to accommodate their continued strong data growth in the country and deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Moreover, Airtel Africa revealed that the acquisition of the 5G spectrum will underpin their growth strategy by enabling the launch of higher-speed connectivity to enhance customer service and accelerate digitalization for consumers, enterprises, and the public sector.
The benefits of 5G were highlighted in a recent statement, including faster speeds, lower latency, increased network capacity, and an improved user experience. In addition, the deployment of 5G will help with the availability and efficiency of fixed wireless access products, furthering Airtel Nigeria's progress in achieving the National Broadband Plan targets. The acquisition of 2600MHz spectrum will complement Airtel Nigeria's existing spectrum position and enhance network capacity, making it more future-proof.
Airtel Africa CEO, Segun Ogunsanya, acknowledged Nigeria's potential for growth in mobile services and emphasized the importance of investing in new technologies and local infrastructure to enable this growth. He stated that 5G is critical to these ambitions and will allow Airtel to provide reliable and affordable services to communities across the country. The launch of new services will drive further digitalization in Nigeria, promote economic progress and transform lives.
Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria said that the NCC has approved a spectrum lease transaction between the company and Natcom Development and Investment Limited (NTEL).
Commenting on the transactions, MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola said: “This is a significant milestone in delivering our Ambition 2025 strategy. “Access to NTEL’s 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrums broadens our spectrum holdings and improves our 3G and 4G user experience as coverage and capacity will be enhanced by utilizing these spectrums.”