Airtel to acquire additional spectrum in Nigeria for $70m

Airtel to acquire additional spectrum in Nigeria for $70m

15 November 2019 | Natalie Bannerman

Cover

Airtel Africa confirms an agreement between Airtel Networks and Intercellular Nigeria to acquire additional 10MHz spectrum in the 900MHz band for approximately $70 million.

The added spectrum will allow Airtel Nigeria to expand and strengthen its LTE network across the country. The deal is subject to regulatory approval by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

“Data is a key pillar of our growth strategy, driven by increasing 4G networks and supported by the increased affordability and increasing penetration of smartphones,” said Raghunath Mandava (pictured), CEO of Airtel Africa. “With an overall smartphone penetration of more than 35% and data consumption growing by 92% in the six months’ period ended 30 September 2019, Nigeria presents a significant growth opportunity in data. The acquisition of this spectrum will enable us to further deliver on this growth opportunity and continue to offer our Nigerian customers an enhanced user experience.”

In the six-month period that ended 30 September 2019, Airtel Nigeria’s revenue increased by 23%, thanks to large amounts of data growth. Data revenue increased 76% during the period driven by the accelerated rollout of its 4G network. With this also came an increase in its data customer base of approximately 20.8% and an ARPU growth of 43%, during this same period 4G data usage increased 20 times.   

To date the company has invested heavily in the expansion of its network footprint and number of 4G sites. Its user penetration is in terms of mobile connectivity is at roughly 44% presenting many opportunities for further growth.

Earlier this year, Airtel Africa welcomed its 100 millionth customer, making it the second largest mobile operator in Africa by number of active subscribers – behind MTN, which has 240 million.