Airtel Africa said its first half Capex dropped 12.4 percent to $216 million, largely due the impact of import logistics during the pandemic period.
Airtel Africa indicated that it would be able to reduce Capex significantly — in a worst-case scenario — without compromising network quality by prioritising expenditure.
Airtel Africa said it continued to invest in mobile network and its commitment to spend planned $650 million to $700 million has not changed.
Airtel Africa’s Capex was $97 million in Nigeria, $81 million in East Africa and $36 million in Francophone Africa during the first quarter of fiscal 2020-21.
The strategy of the group is to invest in network by expanding 4G coverage and building capacity to cater for the needs of customers and to continue providing them with high-speed data.
Airtel Africa said the investment in the 4G network through single RAN technology has resulted in the expansion of 4G coverage and enhanced the network’s capacity. 4G sites now contribute 70 percent of total sites as compared to 59 percent in the previous period.
Data capacity increased by 67 percent and reached 10,253 terabyte per day. The telecom operator said additional capacity build in the network is at very marginal cost. We continued to modernise our network across all countries.
Airtel Africa added over 9,000Km of additional fibre (44,000km in total). Airtel Africa has increased total sites connected on fibre to enhance network uptime and offer high-speed data to more customers.
Airtel Africa also acquired additional spectrum of 10 MHz in 2600 band in Malawi in first half of the year. Airtel Africa continued spectrum re-farming activities to maximise network capacity.
Smartphone penetration grew by 2.7ppts to 33.2 percent and data customer base rose by 24.1 percent, representing 34 percent of customer base. Increased use of larger data bundles has helped to push data usage per customer to 2.5GB per customer from 1.6GB per customer in the previous period.
This has contributed to a 33.4 percent data revenue growth in constant currency. The 4G data usage almost tripled and now contributes to 54.4 percent to the total data usage on the network. Data ARPU increased 10.1 percent and data revenue up by 33.4 percent in constant currency.
Airtel Africa’s customer base grew 12 percent to 116.4 million. Airtel Africa’s revenue rose by 10.7 percent to $1,815 million, with Q2 revenue growth of 14.3 percent
Airtel Africa CEO Raghunath Mandava said “the telecom operator is giving specific focus on expanding distribution in the rural areas in Africa, investing in network and increasing 4G coverage.”