For a total of $316.7 million, Airtel Nigeria has announced the purchase of new 5G spectrum as well as extra spectrum for its 4G network. The company may now roll out a 5G network and increase 4G service in Nigeria due to this acquisition.
5G (100 MHZ in the 3.5 GHz spectrum) was acquired by Spectrum. This band is often the most desirable for 5G networks worldwide, according to the GSMA.
2×5 MHz in the 2.6GHz band, which is the typical 4G standard
For those who are unaware, every form of wireless communication—including television, radio, calls, texts, streaming video, and text messaging—happens over spectrums, which are airwaves under a country’s governance. Nigerian telecoms in Nigeria are provided with spectrum by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
You could not fit as many calls, texts, and streams into one spectrum if you compared spectrums to a basket. You would need to purchase more spectrum from the government, much like Airtel is doing now, when one spectrum reaches its maximum capacity.
What You Should Know
Recall that Airtel Nigeria, a part of Airtel Africa, participated in the 2021 5G spectrum auction alongside eventual winners MTN and Mafab Communications but withdrew when the price rose above a certain point. Airtel was the only company to bid for the 5G license, so the NCC gave it to them in December 2022.
Nigeria had 84 million Internet users in 2022, which is still only 38% of the country’s total population, demonstrating that there is still opportunity for improvement. Nigeria is Airtel’s largest market in Africa. To keep up with the rise in data use in the country, the company says that the acquisition will allow it to expand its network capabilities and roll out 5G.
5G promises to give us access to the Internet at a faster speed. This would make our online experience better and give Nigeria more opportunities in the digital world.
CEO of Airtel Africa, Segun Ogunsanya, said that Nigeria would need 5G to reach its full market potential in terms of growing mobile services and digitalizing the country as a whole.
MTN Nigeria and Mafab, who have already obtained 5G licenses, will be Airtel’s rivals. MTN has already started rolling out 5G across the nation, but the rollout costs are significant, and there are difficulties deploying the technology, especially in rural areas where 4G handset penetration is low.
It will be fascinating to observe how Airtel distinguishes itself from the competition in the fight for 5G when it launches a home internet service similar to MTN. The competition will benefit us as consumers nonetheless.