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Airtel Africa acquires DR Congo 4G spectrum for $42million after losing bid in Nigeria.



Six months after Airtel lost the 5G spectrum bidding round in Nigeria, its biggest market, it buys more spectrum in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Airtel Africa, the parent company of Airtel Nigeria announced on Monday that it had paid $42 million to acquire 58 MHz of additional spectrum for the telco’s fourth-generation (4G) wireless network. The spectrum was spread across the 900, 1800, 2100, and 2600 MHz bands.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the network provider competes with Tigo, Vodacom, Africacell and Orange. In Nigeria, the network provider faces competition from MTN Nigeria, 9mobile, and Globalcom, amongst other companies.

Due to how they acquired the spectrum, the license for the paired spectrum found in the 2100 band will require renewal in September 2032. All of the other licenses will be valid until July 2036.

This acquisition comes after Ripples Nigeria reported that Airtel Africa was unsuccessful in its bid to purchase a 5G spectrum in Nigeria. Consequently, this purchase comes as a result of this failure. Its Competitors MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communication were victorious in the bid and were presented with the license approximately half a year ago. 

After 11 rounds of bidding in December 2021, the price was increased to $275,904,886.25; this caused Airtel Africa to withdraw from the competition at a price less than $200 million.

After the bidding rounds, MTN came in first and was given the first slot. They chose to buy the 5G spectrum in the range of 3500-3600 MHz for $15,900,000, while Mafab Communications bought the second slot in the field of 3700-3800 MHz for $11,120,000.


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