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Tech News & Podcast | Africa

Nigeria Embarks on Major 5G Expansion to Change Telecommunications Landscape

In the dynamic landscape of Nigeria’s telecommunications sector, a transformative wave is sweeping across the nation as industry giants like MTN and Airtel fortify their infrastructure investments, propelling the country into the era of 4G and 5G connectivity. Karl Toriola, the CEO of MTN Nigeria, recently revealed in an investor call the remarkable strides the company has made, with a 2.7% surge in 4G sites and a commendable increase in 5G installations, signaling a shift towards faster and more reliable networks for Nigerian users.

MTN’s expansion efforts have seen the deployment of an impressive 2,106 5G sites, catapulting 5G usage from a mere 3.1% to an impressive 11.3%. Meanwhile, Airtel has taken bold steps by launching 5G networks in key urban centers such as Lagos and Abeokuta, with plans underway for trials in Oshogbo, further solidifying Nigeria’s position in the global digital landscape.

The magnitude of these advancements is mirrored in the substantial financial investments made by both MTN and Airtel, totaling a staggering ₦613 billion by the close of 2022. This capital injection has not only bolstered 4G and 5G infrastructure but has also galvanized smartphone manufacturers to ramp up the production of devices compatible with these advanced networks.

TECNO’s ascendancy as the leading smartphone brand in the Nigerian market, commanding a notable 26.03% share, underscores the growing demand for technologically adept devices. Infinix follows closely, seizing a substantial 20.88% share, while established players like Samsung and Apple maintain their foothold, contributing to the vibrant smartphone ecosystem in Nigeria.

Despite hurdles such as supply chain disruptions and inflation, which have led to a considerable surge in smartphone prices, the uptake of 4G and 5G subscriptions persists. This resilience can be attributed to strategic collaborations between telecom giants, financing entities, and smartphone manufacturers, ushering in flexible payment options to cushion the economic impact on consumers.

Airtel’s partnership with iTel stands as a testament to this collaborative spirit, offering customers access to a diverse range of cost-effective smartphones. Sam Adeoye, Airtel Nigeria’s head of public relations, emphasizes how these partnerships are instrumental in ensuring widespread access to cutting-edge devices and routers, empowering subscribers to embrace the digital revolution.

Moreover, the burgeoning interest in smartphone financing, as highlighted by Aisha Husseini, founder of Keza Africa, underscores the shifting dynamics of consumer behavior in response to economic realities. Even amid currency depreciation and inflationary pressures, individuals are increasingly turning to financing options to bridge the gap, heralding a new era of accessibility and inclusivity in Nigeria’s digital landscape.

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