23 August 2019
Telecom firm Airtel has launched Republic of the Niger’s first 4G LTE network, almost a year after it paid US$22m for its 4G licence.
The 4G network is available nationally, making Niger the first country in Africa where Airtel’s 4G network is available nationwide from launch.
Airtel, the dominant player in the country, described the feat as “a new chapter in the telecommunications revolution in Niger”.
At the official launch ceremony in the capital Niamey, Sani Maigochi, Niger’s minister of posts, telecommunications and digital economy, said the launch chimed with the government’s vision for the digitisation of the country.
Airtel Niger chief executive officer Pierre Canton-Bacara agreed. “Airtel’s 4G LTE network will undoubtedly trigger a new phase of accelerated, equitable and inclusive economic growth, thanks to the increase in broadband services,” he said.
The Nigerien government said it was hoping the introduction of the 4G LTE network would revitalise the telecom sector, improve digital services and accelerate the slow growth rate of the local telecoms sector – specifically to help achieve the goal of 70% penetration by 2020.
Airtel controls more than half of the market share, according to the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and the Post (ARTP).
Other players are Atlantique Telecom Niger SA, Orange Niger SA and Niger Telecom SA.