Airtel Nigeria to roll out 5G, Orange trials 5G in DRC

More Nigerians will soon have access to 5G services after Airtel Nigeria announced that it was almost ready to roll out 5G in the country.

The telco promises its subscribers speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G, ultra-low latency and increased network capacity.

The announcement comes six months after it purchased 100MHz of spectrum in the 3500MHz band and 2x5MHz of 2600MHz spectrum from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for US$316.7 million, payable in local currency.

The telco said it would use that purchase to improve the quality of its 4G network and launch 5G. Furthermore, in May, Airtel Nigeria renewed its 3G license, which will now expire in 2032.

In a tweet, the telco told its subscribers that 5G was almost ready for them.

Airtel 5G is almost ready for you, are you ready for it?

— Airtel Nigeria (@AirtelNigeria) June 9, 2023

With Airtel Nigeria's planned 5G rollout, it joins MTN Nigeria, which launched its 5G services in August 2022.

Airtel Nigeria also joins Mafab Communications, which has been providing 5G services since January 2023.

Orange trials 5G in DRC

Airtel Nigeria's planned 5G rollout comes as Orange announced that it has begun testing 5G technology in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The DRC has been connected to the telco's fiber optic network since February 2023. The arrival of 5G will certainly offer benefits of superior bandwidth. 

"Orange is expressing its desire to offer its business and individual clients an ultra-high-speed mobile Internet connection to meet the increasing need for connectivity," the telco said in a press release.

Orange DRC's 5G testing follows the telco launching a commercial 5G network in Botswana in November 2022.

Africa's 5G revolution

There have been similar commercial launches of the next-generation technology recently. Just last week, Gambian mobile operator QCell launched the country's first commercial 5G service.

Earlier this month, Senegal's telecommunications regulator also issued a call for applications for 5G licenses.

The Senegalese call followed the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) inviting applicants for its planned sale of 5G spectrum and the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) also announced it will auction 5G spectrum in October 2023.

In May, Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) announced it was piloting 5G services.

The recent 5G African progression is in line with GSMA predictions that many African countries will launch 5G services by 2025.

Source: Connecting Africa