Airtel to acquire additional spectrum for $70 million

Airtel Africa Plc has disclosed its intentions to acquire an additional 10 MHz spectrum in the 900 MHZ band in Nigeria. The acquisition is expected to strengthen and reposition Airtel’s LTE network across the country.

The Details: In a notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the investing public, Airtel Africa announced that an agreement was reached between Airtel Nigeria and Intercellular Nigeria Limited for a consideration fee of $70 million.

The fee is excluding the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) fees as stipulated under the NCC Spectrum Trading Guidelines while the acquisition is still subject to the approval of the regulatory agency.

Responding to the development, Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, explained that data and the decision to expand its services across Nigeria were the reasons for the growth of the company.

He said, “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 an enhanced user experience.”

A look into the company’s financials: Airtel Africa recently released its half-year 2019 financial statements which showed impressive performance by the company.

Revenue: Airtel’s revenue grew by 8.4% to N503.3 billion, up from N464.4 billion during the comparable period in 2018. Meanwhile, the company’s expenses increased by 5.7% to N285.7 billion in H1 2019, up from N270.4 billion in H1 2018.

Profit Before Tax: The company recorded a 158.4% increase in its profit before tax which stood at N96.9 billion in H1 2019 compared to N37.4 billion in H1 2018.

Profit After Tax: Airtel Africa’s profit after tax stood at N69.9 billion, indicating an 11.9% increase compared to N62.6 billion reported in H1 2018.

Similarly, Airtel Nigeria witnessed additional internet subscribers on a month-on-month basis, according to the monthly industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for September 2019. Airtel added 444,598 internet subscribers, as the telco’s total internet subscribers rose to 33.1 million last month.

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