Airtel Africa receives NCC approval to acquire 10 MHz spectrum for $94 million

Airtel Africa Plc announced this morning that it has finalised the acquisition of 10 new MHz spectrum (in the 900 MHz band) for its Nigerian operation. The acquisition follows approval by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.

According to a public disclosure, which was issued to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the 10 MHz spectrum was acquired from Intercellular Nigeria Limited for the sum of $94 million. Note that this sum covers fees payable to the NCC.

The statement from Airtel Africa went further to note that the sum is in line with the NCC Spectrum Trading Guidelines.

Recall that the acquisition was first announced in November last year. As Nairametrics reported on November 14th, 2019, the telecoms company initially projected that the acquisition would cost about $70 million.

The now-acquired MHz Spectrum is expected to help Airtel Africa to improve/consolidate on its 4G network in the following way:

  • Improve and support the available capacity of Airtel’s existing 4G network
  • Enable Airtel to better manage its CAPEX on 4G infrastructure, bearing in mind that the company currently operates a single RAN network, even as majority of its sites support the activation of additional 10 MHz spectrum of 900 MHz
  • The acquisition is expected to help Airtel to expand on its fixed wireless broadband service.
  • Ultimately, the acquisition will help the company to become better positioned to provide more opportunities for data/digital services, improve on its voice call quality, and ensure customer satisfaction which will, in turn, lead to more revenue generation.

While commenting on the deal, the Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa Plc, Raghunath Mandava, said:

“With increasing smartphone penetration, data usage and a young growing population, Nigeria represents a significant growth opportunity in data. This investment will not only strengthen our leading 4G position in mobile data but also allow us to expand our fixed wireless broadband offer to support the government agenda for faster broadband services with improved coverage and availability. 

“At Airtel Africa, we are committed to further strengthen our spectrum portfolio when there is a clear growth opportunity and this investment demonstrates our commitment to invest, at the right price, to continue to drive our business forward.”

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