Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Airtel Nigeria to spend N75bn on 2,000 new base stations

AS a result of inadequate infrastructure in the country, Airtel Nigeria will have to build 2,000 new base stations across the country this year, according to investigation by Punch Nigeria correspondent.

Telecoms infrastructure analysts put the average cost of a base station in Nigeria at $250,000 (N37.5m). Therefore, the 2,000 new base stations will cost the company $500m (N75bn) on the average.

The Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Rajan Swaroop, confirmed these in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Lagos on Friday.

According to Swaroop, half of the proposed new base stations will be solely used by Airtel for its operations, while the remaining half will be available for collocation with other mobile operators.

“We are going to build 2,000 new cell sites in 2011. This is part of our expansion programme and efforts to improve our network for superior service offerings to our subscribers,” he said.

According to him, when completed, the new base stations will boost quality of service on the Airtel network, while affording its subscribers unlimited freedom.

Swaroop added that the telecoms company would also increase the size of its call centre facilities by 1,500 seats.

He had said when the company took over Zain Nigeria in June 2010, that it would invest $600m (N90bn) in Airtel over the next three years. He, however, said $300m (N45bn) of the total investment capital would be spent within the next 12 months.

When asked for the most significant achievement recorded since Airtel took over Zain, Swaroop said that offering an affordable tariff of 20k per second to its subscribers was an important milestone.

According to him, competition in the telecoms sector was not so keen before Airtel came into the Nigerian market. He expressed satisfaction that the company had been able to stir competition in the industry to the benefit of the subscribers.

Speaking against the backdrop of the recent announcement by the Nigerian Communications Commission that Mobile Number Portability would be implemented in May, Swaroop expressed full support for the plan.

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