Airtel Africa Plc (“Airtel Africa”), a leading pan-African provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, today announced an agreement between Airtel Networks Limited (“Airtel Nigeria”), a subsidiary of Airtel Africa, and Intercellular Nigeria Limited, to acquire additional 10 MHz spectrum in the 900 MHZ band in Nigeria for a consideration of $70 million, excluding NCC Fees as per the NCC Spectrum Trading Guidelines. The acquisition of this additional spectrum (the “Acquisition”) will allow Airtel Nigeria to expand and strengthen its LTE network across the country.
The Acquisition is subject to regulatory approval by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Nigeria is Airtel Africa’s largest market. In the six months’ period ended 30 September 2019, Airtel Nigeria’s revenue increased by 23%, with data growth being the largest contributor. Data revenue increased by 76% during the period driven by the accelerated rollout of our 4G network, with an increase in the data customer base of 20.8% and an ARPU growth of 43%. During the period, 4G data usage increased by almost 20 times.
Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa commented: “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. 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 enhanced user experience.”
Airtel Africa, the second-largest mobile operator in Africa by a number of active subscribers, offers an integrated suite of telecommunications solutions to its subscribers, including mobile voice and data services as well as mobile money services both nationally and internationally. The Group has invested to expand its network footprint and the number of 4G sites, to enhance network quality and experience. Airtel Africa is well-positioned to capture growth opportunities presented by promising underlying macroeconomic and demographic trends in a fast-growing region that is vastly underpenetrated in terms of mobile and banking services. The Group’s footprint is characterized by low but increasing levels of mobile connectivity, with a unique user penetration at 44%, highlighting the potential for growth across its footprint.