IHS Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria have sealed a deal that positions the third-largest telecom operator in Nigeria to acquire 3,950 tenancies over the next five years.

The majority of those acquisitions are anticipated in 2024 and 2025, with an extension until 2031 for existing tenancies covering approximately 6,000 sites.

According to a statement from the firms, the agreement comprises 2,500 collocations, 5G amendments, and the creation of built-to-suit sites owned and operated by IHS Nigeria.

They noted that the deal simply meant Airtel would be installing and operating its network equipment in locations owned by IHS.

Instead of constructing and maintaining its infrastructure, Airtel is opting to leverage IHS’s established facilities for five years.

The Chairman of IHS Towers, Sam Darwish, said, “The expansion and renewal of our relationship with Airtel Nigeria is a testament to our continued commitment to serving our customers and the connectivity demands of Africa.

“Airtel Nigeria, as well as Airtel Africa, whom we serve in other markets in Africa, has been a long-term partner of IHS, and I am delighted that we continue to strengthen our collaboration to help facilitate mobile connectivity in our largest market, supporting our customers in rolling out new sites throughout Nigeria.”

A year ago, Airtel Africa paid $316.7m for the 5G spectrum it won in December 2022 and an additional 4G spectrum.

The telecom operator said the additional spectrum would boost its investments in network expansion for both mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband capability, including 5G rollout.

The Chairman of Airtel, Sunil Mittal, said the company was willing to invest $700m in the country in the next two years as it rolls out the 5G network.

“To roll and experience the 5G and more fibre into the ground and data centres will require over $700m in order to achieve that, so, $400m is what we generally invest every year, but with 5G the investment is only going to go up for the next two or three years before it comes back to what it used to be,” Mittal added.

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