The Chief Financial Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Modupe Kadri, has said that the company has invested over $120 million in expanding 5G coverage over the last two years. In an exclusive interview with Nairametric, Kadri disclosed disclose this.

MTN 5G Router in colors

According to Kadir, these investments pushed up 5G coverage of the population from 3% in 2022 when it launched to 11% in 2023.

He, however, noted that the government would need to urgently address the forex situation in the country and institute fair pricing to encourage further investments.

Engagement with regulator

While noting that telecom companies in the country are engaging with the industry regulator to make sure that the industry can price appropriately to be able to justify those continued investments, he said if that is not allowed to happen, the operators would soon be unable to invest further in infrastructure.

  • “That’s where the problem exists down the road but for now, we are still pushing on. We took a 5G licence when nobody expected us to take a 5G licence.
  • “Last year, we increased our population coverage of 5G from 3% to 11%. That investment alone is north of $120 million.
  • “We made those investments because that’s what is required to build resilience or to carry the sort of traffic that we see on our network,” Kadri stated.

5G connections in Nigeria

According to the latest industry data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), 5G connections in the country increased to 2.3 million in December 2023.

  • This, however, represents 1.04% of the country’s total active subscriptions for telephone services, which stood at 224.7 million at the end of the year.
  • While the three telecom operators have deployed 5G infrastructure across major cities in the country, especially, Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt, the service providers are seeing slow adoption due to the device limitation.
  • The devaluation of the Naira which has reduced the operators’ capacity to invest more in infrastructure has also reduced the subscribers’ purchasing power, making it difficult for many to switch to 5G smartphones.

What you should know

MTN launched the first 5G network in Nigeria in September 2022, while Airtel launched the same in June 2023. Mafab Communications, which secured the 5G licence at the same time as MTN could not roll out the service until late 2023 when it began to sell its routers.

MTN initially rolled out its 5G service in seven cities including Lagos Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Owerri, and Maiduguri and is currently expanding the service.

Airtel at launch in June last year rolled out the service in four states including Lagos, Abuja, Rivers, and Ogun with plans to roll out in six more states within the first year of the launch.

Mafab also launched its 5G service in Abuja with a promise that the first phase of its rollout would be in six cities across the country in fulfillment of the rollout obligations as contained in the licensing document.



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