MTN’s $120 Million Investment To Expand 5G Coverage Across Nigeria – CFO

MTN Nigeria Faces N740 Billion Forex Losses

MTN has invested over $120 million in expanding 5G coverage in Nigeria – CFO. 


In an exclusive interview with Nairametrics, Mr. Modupe Kadri, the Chief Financial Officer of MTN Nigeria, revealed that the telecommunications giant has made significant strides in expanding 5G coverage in Nigeria. Over the past two years, MTN has invested more than $120 million in bolstering its 5G infrastructure, marking a notable advancement in the country’s connectivity landscape.

Kadri emphasized that these investments have yielded tangible results, with 5G coverage expanding from a mere 3% in 2022 to an impressive 11% by the end of 2023. Despite this progress, Kadri highlighted the urgent need for governmental intervention to address forex challenges and establish fair pricing mechanisms. Such initiatives are essential to incentivize further investments in Nigeria’s telecommunications infrastructure.

Engagement with regulatory bodies is crucial in ensuring that telecom companies can price their services appropriately to sustain ongoing investments. Kadri warned of potential impediments to future infrastructure development if regulatory constraints hinder operators’ ability to justify continued investments. Despite these challenges, MTN remains committed to advancing its network capabilities, exemplified by its proactive acquisition of a 5G license and substantial investment in infrastructure.

5G Adoption and Challenges in Nigeria

Recent data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) indicates a growing uptake of 5G technology, with connections reaching 2.3 million by December 2023. However, this figure accounts for just 1.04% of the country’s total active telephone subscriptions, which stood at 224.7 million at the end of the year. The slow adoption of 5G can be attributed to various factors, including device limitations and economic constraints stemming from currency devaluation.

While major telecom operators have deployed 5G infrastructure in key urban centers like Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt, the uptake of 5G smartphones remains sluggish among consumers. The devaluation of the Naira has diminished operators’ capacity to invest further in infrastructure, exacerbating the challenge of affordability for many potential subscribers.

Key Insights

  • MTN spearheaded the introduction of 5G technology in Nigeria in September 2022, with subsequent launches by Airtel in June 2023 and Mafab Communications later in the same year.
  • Despite initial rollout challenges, MTN has expanded its 5G services across multiple cities, with ongoing efforts to extend coverage nationwide.
  • Airtel and Mafab Communications have also made strides in deploying 5G networks, albeit facing logistical and market challenges.

By investing heavily in 5G infrastructure, MTN is poised to shape the future of telecommunications in Nigeria, driving innovation and connectivity across the nation. However, collaborative efforts between industry stakeholders and policymakers are essential to overcome existing barriers and realize the full potential of 5G technology in Nigeria’s digital transformation journey.

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