5G networks

Two telcos invest N443bn in 4G, 5G

Nigerians are set to enjoy fast Internet as two telecommunication firms invest N443.30bn in 4G and 5G infrastructure across the nation.

MTN Nigeria and Airtel disclosed this in their half financial reports for 2022. According to MTN, it has invested N311.6bn and Airtel disclosed it has invested N131.70bn ($307m) within the first six months in infrastructure.

MTN said, “Capital expenditure in the period was N311.6bn, up by 67.1 per cent, due to accelerated coverage expansion, focusing on the 4G and 5G networks as well as our rural telephony programme.

“Core capex, excluding the right of use assets, increased by 78.6 per cent to N204.5bn. We frontloaded some of our planned capex for the year in H1 to capture growth opportunities while mitigating foreign exchange and supply chain disruption risks as well as the impact of rising inflation. As a result, capex intensity increased by 7pp to 21.5 per cent, temporarily exceeding our target levels.”

According to the firm, it has deployed 127 5G sites and 4,984 4G sites.

Earlier in its first quarter report, Airtel had said, “The Group continued to invest in the expansion of our 4G network, adding significant data capacity to the network at only marginal cost, expanding both home broadband and enterprise business services to greater leverage the 4G network capacity; growing data ARPU and data revenue.

“We continue to focus on increasing smartphone ownership and increasing data usage at scale, largely via smartphone offerings through Original Equipment Manufacturer device partnerships, and through expanding our network of smartphone device selling outlets.

“Our improved 4G network supported our drive to increase smartphone penetration, data customer penetration and the uptake of larger data volumes, resulting in greater data consumption per customer. Smartphone penetration was up by 1.2 percentage point to 34.2 per cent and our data customer base grew by 15.2 per cent, now representing 36.4 per cent of our total customer base.”

According to the telcos, their business is faced with challenges such as rising inflation, scarcity of foreign exchange, supply chain disruptions, and higher diesel and petrol prices. They said this is adding financial pressure on their customers.

5G is expected to be rolled out later in August 2022, with MTN and Mafab communications leading the charge.

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