5G access grows as Airtel launches network


Fifth-generation technology (5G) access is witnessing significant growth in Nigeria, especially after Airtel Nigeria launched the network on Monday in Lagos.

This brings the total number of operators that have launched 5G to three in the country. Airtel joins, albeit late, MTN Nigeria, and Mafab Communications in the 5G club. During its launch on Monday, the telecommunication firm disclosed that its services are now live in Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, and the Federal Capital Territory.

According to the new managing director and chief executive officer of Airtel Nigeria, Carl Cruz, 5G is a significant leap from 4G.

He said, “I am pleased to welcome all of you to the launch of Airtel’s 5G network. The 5G revolution is a quantum leap from the previous generation of networks, 4G. One may think that 4G was an improvement in our Internet experience, 5G completely opens a new possibility where anything and everything is possible.

For instance, today as we know it, video playback and video calls are quite slow. But with 5G end-to-end video creation with the support of AI is now possible even if one is using their own browser. 5G is a completely new experience, it supercharges everything we can do.

“Whether it be cloud computing, telemedicine, self-driving cars, cloud gaming, AI and virtual reality, Internet of Things, smart homes, and indeed so much more.”

During his presentation, the Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Femi Oshinlaja, noted that the firm was not meant to be out of reach to the average consumer. He stated that to increase device accessibility, the firm partnered with Samsung to launch a 5G-enabled phone.

He said, “5G is not meant to be out of reach for them. Like Carl said, making 5G accessible. Airtel has come in to democratise 5G, not make it complex.”

He added, “We also have a partnership with Samsung to launch an affordable 5G-enabled phone at N122k. Because we are thinking about our customers and keep them at the heart of what we do, we worked with our ecosystem partners to provide technology and affordable phones.”

Airtel’s 5G launch is coming after it emerged as the sole bidder for 3.5GHz spectrum band for 5G deployment in December 2022. This is after Airtel missed out getting a spectrum in December of 2021, after a new operator, Mafab, pimped it to the license.

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