Africa’s leading telecommunications and mobile money services, Airtel Africa has signed a new $194 million credit facility with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank.
According to the telecommunications giant, the new financing facility is in accordance with the company’s strategy to improve debt within its operating firms and support operations in key African markets.
The eight years tenor credit facility will help Airtel Africa support operations and investments in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Republic of Congo and Zambia.
Also, it would help provide more diversified access to local funding, the company stated in a statement signed by Simon O’Hara, Group Company Secretary and obtained by Investors King.
In line with IFC requirements for a loan facility, Airtel Africa is expected to deepen its Social and Environmental Sustainability and has put in place a dedicated Environmental and Social Action plan.
This, Airtel said would deepen its commitment to changing the lives of people in the communities in which it operates and provides clarity on how the Group can help address inequality and support economic growth in these communities.
Commenting on the facility, Segun Ogunsanya, Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa said: “I am very excited to announce the signing of this new facility with IFC. Not only does it align with our focus on improving our balance sheet through localising debt within our OpCos, but as we make progress on our sustainability journey it also supports our commitments and ability to meet strong ESG criteria. I look forward to working closely with IFC in the coming years as we explore further opportunities to support the economies and communities where we operate.”
On the part of IFC, Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for Africa, has this to say: “The COVID-19 pandemic has made mobile connectivity even more urgent for both social and economic development. Helping more people connect to affordable and fast internet networks is a priority for IFC in Africa, especially in the continent’s lower-income countries. The partnership with Airtel Africa will help achieve this.”
Telecommunications Companies Recover From Nigeria’s SIM-NIN Link Losses
Telecommunications companies recovered from 20.83 million subscribers worth N29.58bn in revenue lost.
Telecommunication companies have recovered from the losses they suffered following the Federal Government’s policy of linking of National Identity Numbers with SIM cards.
It could be recalled that the industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission had disclosed that the telecom giants including MTN Nigeria, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile had lost 20.83 million subscribers since the linking of NIN-SIM cards link began.
The Federal Government had in 2021 set a deadline for citizens to link their NIN with their SIM cards and had banned the sales of new SIM cards in December of same year in a view to tackling insecurity and identifying fraudulent individuals easily.
However, during the period of the ban and having lifted the ban in April of the same year, telcos had lost subscribers numbering 20.83 million which amounted to N29.58bn in lost revenue.
After the policy fully kicked off in April last year, over 72.77 million active telecommunication subscriptions that didn’t link up were denied access to make calls.
Meanwhile, new data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that the telecommunications industries are shaking off the loss and recording higher subscriptions from Nigerians.
The data put the number of mobile subscriptions in the country to 222.23 million in 2022 despite the implementation of the NIN-Subscriber Identity Module policy.
The companies, according to the data, grew by 13.89 percent in 2022 as against 4.42 percent from 204.15 million as of December 2020 to 195.13 million as of December 2021.
Subscriptions total number increased from 195.13 million as of December 2021 to 222.23 million as of December 2022, the data revealed.
MTN Nigeria, within the period captured by the data, grew by 20.96 per cent from 73.59 million to 89.02 million; Airtel increased by 11.38 per cent from 53.93 million to 60.07 million; Globacom grew by 9.98 per cent from 54.82 million to 60.29 million; and 9mobile grew by 0.49 per cent from 12.85 million to 12.79 million.
Also in 2022, teledensity, the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants living within an area, recorded growth amounting to 116.60 per cent, which is said to be the highest on record.
Reacting to the development, the Chief Operating Officer, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Ajibola Olude, said the mobile subscriptions’ growth in 2022, was due to the increased usage of Internet and active participation of Nigerians on social media.
Olude also linked the growth to efforts of the federal government through it awareness creation on the importance of embracing Information Communication Technology, saying that most Nigerians need SIM cards to carryout out their daily activities.
He said many Nigerians now operate their businesses and services online and that the cashless police of the Central Bank of Nigeria also motivated Nigerians to get more SIMs and get more Internet-enabled phones.
It is on record that Nigeria’s mobile population is the largest in Africa and is expected to continue to grow because of its increasing population of youngsters who are internet-savvy.
GSMA, the global body representing telcos, has disclosed that 18 million new Nigerians will become unique mobile subscribers by 2025.
Airtel Africa Pays $316.7 Million for Nigeria 4G and 5G Spectrum
Airtel Africa, Africa’s leading telecommunications and mobile money services has paid a total sum of $316.7 million to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the purchase of 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3500MHz band and 2x5MHz of 2600MHz.
The new spectrum acquisition will help support the company’s network expansion for both mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband capability.
This, Airtel Africa said it includes 5G rollout and also will improve the company’s capacity to accommodate strong data growth in the country and exceptional customer experience.
The company led the industry in providing affordable 4G services across the country following the deployment of a fully modernised network which facilitated a 4-fold increase in data traffic over the last three years. The penetration of data customers in Nigeria remains low, providing significant opportunity for future growth.
The acquisition of 5G spectrum will underpin Airtel’s growth strategy by enabling the launch of higher speed connectivity to enhance customer service and accelerate digitalisation for consumers, enterprises and the public sector.
The key benefits of 5G will include higher speeds, lower latency, significant network capacity as well as an improved user experience.
Furthermore, the deployment of 5G will accelerate the availability and efficiency of fixed wireless access products across the country, contributing towards Airtel Nigeria’s progress in meeting the National Broadband Plan targets.
The acquisition of 2600MHz spectrum will complement our already strong spectrum position in the market to enhance network capacity and futureproof our growth opportunity.
Segun Ogunsanya, CEO of Airtel Africa commented: “Nigeria is a market with enormous potential for future growth in mobile services. Investment in new technologies and local infrastructure to enable this growth is a strategic priority for the Group and will ensure we are able to provide reliable and affordable services to local communities across the country.
He added that “5G is critical to these ambitions, and we look forward to launching new services to drive further digitalisation across the country, facilitate economic progress and transform lives across Nigeria.”
NCC Announces Massive Growth in Telecommunication Industry For 2022
MTN stays top of the list of mobile subscribers with 86.44 million subscriptions, followed by Globacom with 59.95 million subscriptions while Airtel has 59.38 million mobile subscriptions and 9mobile has 12.84 million.
The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has announced a growth in the number of mobile subscriptions in Nigeria by 23.48 million from January to November 2022.
According to the industry’s latest statistics, this pushes the total number of mobile subscriptions in the country to 218.61 million, a new record high.
Investors King reports that MTN stays top of the list of mobile subscribers with 86.44 million subscriptions, followed by Globacom with 59.95 million subscriptions while Airtel has 59.38 million mobile subscriptions and 9mobile has 12.84 million.
According to telecommunication companies, the reason for sustained growth in mobile subscriptions can be linked to a restriction on outgoing calls on SIMs that have not been linked with their National Identification Number
In April 2022, the Federal Government had directed telecos through a joint statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, and the Head, Corporate Communications at the Nigeria Identity Management Commission, Mr Kayode Adegoke, to enforce compliance with its National Identification Number-Subscriber Identity Module policy and restrict outgoing calls on all unlinked SIMs.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the policy with effect from April 4, 2022. Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all telcos to strictly enforce the policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria.”
GSMA, the global body for telecos had confirmed that Nigeria has the largest mobile population in Africa and is expected to continue to grow while attributing mobile subscription growth to the country’s young population.
It explained that many individuals in the country are under 18 and are crossing into adulthood and subscribing to mobile services noting that 18 million new Nigerians will become unique telecom subscribers by 2025.
“By 2025, mobile’s contribution will grow by $65bn (to almost $155bn), as the countries in the region increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased take-up of mobile services.”
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