Bharti increases investments in Nigeria

05 July 2011 | Kavit Majithia


Indian telco Bharti airtel is upgrading its network and developing facilities in Nigeria as part of an increased investment of up to $1 billion in the region.

After initially pledging to spend $600 million in the region in the first 18 months of operation, the company has decided to increase the figure to ensure coverage reaches more rural areas of the region. The announcement made by Rajan Swaroop, CEO of airtel Nigeria, in Nigerian local paper Daily Trust marks the company’s one year anniversary of operating in Nigeria since the purchase of Zain’s African operations last year.

Swaroop declared increased investment was needed in rural areas because it is in an area that has been largely ignored by other operators. So far, airtel’s operations in Africa have proved successful, with an increase in market share which is only continuing to grow.

“We have made significant investment and are still making investments as we seek to strengthen the network we inherited, make it more robust and expand coverage especially to the rural communities,” said Swaroop, “This year we are investing $1 billion in Nigeria to achieve our objectives of providing world-class service to Nigerians.”

The potential in the Nigerian telecoms market is clear. Paul Budde, of the BuddeComm consultancy firm noted in an annual report that the country presently has the largest mobile market in Africa with 85 million subscribers.