A new spectrum acquisition will allow Airtel Africa’s Nigerian subsidiary to enhance LTE coverage in the country.
Airtel Africa, a pan-African provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, has announced an agreement between Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel Nigeria), a subsidiary of Airtel Africa, and service provider Intercellular Nigeria Limited, to acquire an additional 10 MHz spectrum in the 900 MHZ band in Nigeria. The acquisition involves a consideration of $70 million, excluding Nigerian Communications Commission fees.
The acquisition of this additional spectrum will, says Airtel, allow Airtel Nigeria to expand and strengthen its LTE network across the country. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Nigeria is Airtel Africa’s largest market. In the six-month period to 30 September, Airtel Nigeria’s revenue increased by 23 percent; data growth was the largest contributor. Data revenue increased by 76 percent during the period, driven, says Airtel, by the accelerated rollout of its 4G network, with an increase in the data customer base of 20.8 percent and an ARPU growth of 43 percent. During the period, 4G data usage increased by almost 20 times.
Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, highlighted the role of the increased affordability and increasing penetration of smartphones in 4G growth and added: “Nigeria presents a significant growth opportunity in data. The acquisition of this spectrum will enable us to further deliver on this growth opportunity.”