Airtel Nigeria has acquired a 5G spectrum and an additional 4G spectrum for $316.7 million. This comes two years after its initial bid in 2021 where it dropped out in the premier auction.
The company attributed the decision to purchase the spectrum as part of its commitment to deepen higher-speed connectivity in Nigeria by way of 5G cellular technology.
The purchase of the 100 MegaHertz (MHz) spectrum in the 3500 MHz band and 2×5 MHz of 2600 MHz was made by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Airtel, which is the third-highest telecom operator with over 57 million subscribers across Nigeria, now joins MTN and Mafab Communications to host the much-prized spectrum.
“The acquisition of 5G spectrum will underpin our growth strategy by enabling the launch of higher speed connectivity to enhance customer service and accelerate digitalisation for consumers, enterprises and the public sector,” the company stated.
After the news of the spectrum purchase went viral, shares in Airtel Africa climbed 5.2% to N1,630 per unit, raising its market value above N6.1 trillion, the biggest by any publicly traded company in the country.
“Nigeria is a market with enormous potential for future growth in mobile services,” Segun Ogunsanya, CEO of Airtel Africa said.
“Investment in new technologies and local infrastructure to enable this growth is a strategic priority for the group and we will ensure that we can provide reliable and affordable services to local communities across the country,” he stated.
This acquisition will further improve the internet speed of Nigeria which currently stands at 13.45 megabytes per second.
Nigeria now boasts of three telecom operators with the 5G spectrum licence.