Did you know that Airtel 5G Network was brought to live in Nigeria? In case you missed it, Airtel is now offering 5G services in four locations within the country: Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, and FCT Abuja. Their ambitious plan is to extend coverage to the entire nation by the end of the current financial year. Airtel Nigeria becomes the third Mobile Network operator to implement 5G in Nigeria, following in the footsteps of MTN Nigeria and the recently launched telecommunications Mafab communications.
How Airtel 5G Network Came to Reality
By December 2022, Airtel had successfully acquired 100 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band through an auction conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Remarkably, Airtel emerged as the sole bidder in this auction. Subsequently, the following month, the telecommunications company secured an additional 2×10 megahertz in the 2.6 GHz band.
Airtel’s strategic plan involves utilizing the frequencies obtained in the 3.5 GHz band to deploy its 5G services across Nigeria. Simultaneously, the spectrum acquired in the 2.6 GHz band will be leveraged to enhance the network capacity of the telco. Airtel invested a total of $316.7 million to acquire these two megahertz spectrum licenses.
Notably, Airtel Nigeria also recently renewed its existing 2×10 megahertz 2.1 GHz spectrum license. Moreover, the company introduced Voice Over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) services in the country, bringing advanced voice capabilities to its network.
Introducing Airtel 5G Network to Nigerians
After an extensive series of processes and acquisitions, Airtel launched 5G technology debut just six months later! The momentous occasion took place on Monday, June 19, 2023.
At the unveiling event in Lagos, Airtel Nigeria revealed that it launched a non-standalone version of 5G, which they touted as significantly superior in service delivery. They further pledged to provide their subscribers with speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G, ultra-low latency, and a substantial increase in network capacity. The prospects of this Airtel 5G Network promise an exciting future for Airtel’s customers.
Carl Cruz, the current Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, expressed his thoughts on the 5G revolution, stating, “5G is a quantum leap from other ‘G’ Network available currently. He added, “although (4G) is remarkable, 5G opens up an entirely new vista.”
He firmly believes that life is bound to become more fascinating and convenient with the advent of Airtel 5G Network. He also emphasized, “We can only be limited by the limit of our imagination.”
Carl Cruz further highlighted that 5G will facilitate increased collaboration among stakeholders in the telecommunications sector, enabling the exploration of new possibilities with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Smart Cities, and various other innovations. The potential of 5G technology to unlock these possibilities is indeed promising.
Carl Cruz also extended his appreciation to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), acknowledging its role in enabling the country to become one of the first 60 nations to deploy 5G services.
He proudly stated, “Airtel Nigeria takes pride in being an early adopter of 5G technology, not only in Africa but across the globe. Thanks to the unwavering commitment of the Nigerian government, Airtel 5G Network became a reality in Nigeria ahead of many other countries worldwide.”
Furthermore, Carl Cruz emphasized the significance of the allocated frequency spectrum band for 5G, as it will significantly enhance the consumer experience, making it more rewarding for users.
He concluded by stating that Airtel Nigeria’s primary objective is to make 5G accessible and widely available throughout the country, ensuring that the benefits of this advanced technology reach as many people as possible.
Providing further insight into the company’s strategy, Femi Oshinlaja, the Chief Commercial Officer, shared, “To ensure broader access to this fantastic 5G technology, our firm is offering its router at an affordable price of N30,000. Additionally, we have collaborated with Samsung to provide the Galaxy A14 model at a highly affordable cost.”
Utilizing Airtel 5G Network
Users can seamlessly experience 5G on certain 4G sim cards (though not all) as long as they have a 5G compatible device and are located in one of the four listed locations mentioned earlier in this article. This means that upgrading the 4G sim card is not necessarily required to access 5G.
However, it’s important to note that 5G is designed to deliver higher speeds and lower latency, which may lead to increased data consumption. Despite this, the rates and prices of data will remain unchanged.
The launch of Airtel’s 5G network is expected to bolster Nigeria’s digital transformation aspirations by accelerating the adoption of broadband services. It will also bring the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) closer to achieving the targets set in Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan. This move is likely to contribute significantly to the country’s technological advancement and connectivity goals.