MTN Nigeria to invest US$1.5bn to expand broadband access in Nigeria

NIGERIAMTN Nigeria Plc, a telecommunication company, has concluded plans to invest US$1.5 billion (N617 billion) over the next 3 years to expand broadband access in Nigeria, reports Nairametrics.

This move by the company is seen as part of the plans to help boost its 4G coverage and provide home broadband which will be part of a rural connectivity programme.

This disclosure was made by the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, while on a conference call with analysts and journalists for the telecom firm’s half-year, 2021, according to Reuters.

“Operationally, our mobile subscribers closed first half of the year at 68.9 million, down 9.9% from December 2020. This was due to the regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activations, which was lifted on 19 April 2021,” Managing Director of MTN Nigeria Karl Toriola said in a statement.

He said that MTN plans to take advantage of the road infrastructure tax credit scheme, an initiative by the Federal Government, to rehabilitate a highway in the southern part of the country to lower its tax exposure.

MTN Nigeria had said that it plans to connect around 1,000 rural communities to its network in 2021 and extra 2,000 communities next year.

MTN Nigeria had earlier in March said that it was an advanced stage in the renewal of its operating spectrum and licence in Nigeria for another period of 10 years with effect from September.

The spectrum underpins MTN’s data network and telecom coverage in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Communication (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, had earlier said that Nigeria expects to start auctioning spectrum for the next generation 5G network by the fourth quarter of this year.

MTN had earlier said that its planned investment would also support MTN Group’s strategy, Ambition 2025 and leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.

Also, it had insisted on its support for Nigeria’s plans to secure 90% broadband population coverage by 2025, adding that its plan to sell down 14% of MTN Nigeria to Nigerian investors were at an advanced stage and would happen as soon as conditions were conducive.

MTN Nigeria, the largest network by market share, said it lost 7.6 million mobile subscribers in the first half of 2021, especially due to the Federal Government’s suspension of new SIM registration.

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