While The World Looks Beyond 5G, Airtel Africa Spends $42 Million To Expand 4G Network

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Airtel Reveals Strategic Partnership With Konga To Develop Digital Retail
Airtel Reveals Strategic Partnership With Konga To Develop Digital Retail

Airtel Africa announced earlier today that it paid regulators $42 million to acquire additional spectrum licence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with the aim of expanding its 4G network coverage in the country.

In a corporate disclosure, the telecom company explained that the newly purchased 58 MHz additional spectrum is spread across 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz bands. The licence will not be up for renewal until 2032.

Do note that of all the 14 African countries where the telco currently operates, the DRC is the largest by coverage area. The country is also Airtel’s second largest market by population. Little wonder the company is bullish with this investment.

“This additional spectrum will support our 4G expansion in the market for both mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband capability, providing significant capacity to accommodate our continued strong data growth in the country.

While The World Looks Beyond 5G, Airtel Africa Spends $42 Million To Expand 4G Network

This investment reflects our continued confidence in the tremendous opportunity inherent in the DRC, supporting the local communities and economies through furthering digital inclusion and connectivity,” said a part of the corporate disclosure.

However, it is rather interesting to note that Airtel, which is a major African telecom operator, is just now trying to expand 4G coverage in one of its biggest markets; at a time when the rest of the world is already prospecting 6G network.

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During the recently concluded World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark declared that 6G mobile network is expected to become commercially operational by 2030. His projection came on the backdrop of rising 5G adoption rate across the world, with countries in Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East leading.

In Africa, however, only about 6 countries have so far launched 5G network, according to checks by Business Insider Africa. And even at this abysmal rate, most of the launches are not commercial in scope. Major telcos like Airtel, MTN, Ethio Telecom and Safaricom, etc, have been slow in rolling out the service due to a number of unique challenges.