(Ecofin Agency) - The investment aims to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the growing demand for broadband telecom services in Africa.
Airtel Africa PLC announced Monday (July 25), the acquisition of 60 megahertz of spectrum in the 2600 MHz band in Kenya. According to the company, the overall investment was US$40 million for a 15-year license.
The newly acquired spectrum will support the expansion of the company’s 4G mobile network capacity in Kenya, both for mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband. They will also enable the operator to roll out 5G in the country soon.
The new investment is expected to help Airtel Kenya improve the quality of telecom services it provides to the population and strengthen its position in the Kenyan telecom market. According to the regulator's annual report for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, as of December 2021, Airtel Kenya was controlling 26.8 percent of the local market, behind Safaricom (64.2%).
The acquisition comes five months after Airtel Kenya and the regulator ended their seven-year legal battle over the operator's previous telecom license that expired in 2015. The Communications Authority (CA) subsequently approved the operator's application to replace its temporary license with a new 10-year license for 2×10 MHz spectrum in the 2100 MHz band.
In addition, in March 2022, Airtel Africa started negotiations for a US$194 million loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to support its investment needs in seven African markets, including Kenya. Meanwhile, the company has acquired an additional 58 megahertz of spectrum for its operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo for US$42 million.
Isaac K. Kassouwi