Africa’s telecom operator, Airtel Africa, has announced that it has acquired a 5G deployment license in 4 African countries, marking the beginning of the operator’s long-expected incursion into the fifth-generation connectivity bubble of the continent.
Airtel Africa, one of the continent’s largest by overall market share, has bought rights to 5G services in Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, and Zambia.
According to media reports, the Tanzanian license was secured for US$ 60.1 million last October, while the Nigerian permit came this January for US$ 317 million. Its licenses in Kenya and Zambia were awarded last July and October, respectively.
To kick start what the company has termed a selective rollout of the internet service, Airtel Africa indicates that it will switch on its first 5G network in the high-income neighbourhoods of Nairobi.
This move mirrors Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telco, which chose areas with a high concentration of middle and higher-class customers.
Commenting on the acquisition, Airtel Africa’s chief executive Segun Adesanya said the company is prioritizing cities with reasonable amounts of devices and high purchasing power, as it would ensure that the technology’s benefits are enjoyed to the maximum.