Multinational operator Airtel Africa has announced that it has finalized the acquisition of 10 MHz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band in Nigeria from fellow operator Intercellular Nigeria Limited.
This additional spectrum purchase, agreed in November last year, will, says Airtel Africa, reinforce the company’s leading 4G position in its largest market by increasing the available capacity of the existing network and supporting the further roll-out of 4G.
It will also allow Airtel Africa to efficiently manage its capex spend for its 4G network; the company operates a single RAN network, and the majority of its sites already support the activation of the additional 10 MHz spectrum in the 900 MHz band.
In addition the acquisition will enable Airtel Africa to expand its fast-growing fixed wireless broadband offering.
As for what this means for consumers, the acquisition of the 10 MHz spectrum should also provide more opportunities for data and digital services as well as home broadband services. It will also, says Airtel, improve both voice call quality and data experience.
In total the acquisition involved a payment of $94 million, including Nigerian Communications Commission fees. The NCC has approved the spectrum acquisition, first announced on 14 November 2019.
Airtel Africa’s Nigerian division reported an increase in revenue last year of more than 23 percent, with data growth being the largest contributor. It’s not too surprising then that Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, has been quoted as saying that: “With increasing smartphone penetration, data usage and a young growing population, Nigeria represents a significant growth opportunity in data.”