Airtel’s $9Bn ‘Project Leap’ to Reinforce Network
BHARTI Airtel has reportedly announced a $9.04 billion network expansion plan to drive mobile broadband access to villages and fixed broadband to towns across Asia and Africa over the next three years.
Several media have reported that the multinational telecommunications and mobile services provider, with a strong presence in Africa, is targeting 500,000 villages in its market for connectivity and intends to double the number of base stations by adding 160,000 sites over this period.
Airtel Africa has operations in Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
As of 30 September Airtel had 80, 835,000 GSM mobile customers in Africa.
In its report Mobile World Live referenced a press release by the company which covered details of its “Project Leap” initiative, and specifically mentioned the intention to reduce its carbon footprint by 70% over the next three years, as well as the replacement of older base stations with smaller and more energy efficient equipment – which uses RAN (Radio Access Network) technology to manage spectrum bands.
According to Mobile World Live Airtel will also upgrade its copper broadband lines with vectoring technology – which, as the report states, will increase broadband speeds from the current 16Mbps to 50Mbps.
In September Airtel confirmed an agreement with Liquid Telecom to use the fibre provider’s terrestrial fibre network to connect Airtel’s mobile base stations and enterprises, in a bid to increase internet access speeds on Airtel’s 3G and 4G networks in Africa.
At the time Airtel Africa CEO Christian de Faria was quoted as saying, “The agreement is a milestone in providing fast broadband services to customers in a cost-effective way. Airtel has invested significantly in mobile broadband technology across its African footprint and this agreement will deliver end-to-end fibre connectivity to our 3G and 4G base stations. This collaboration reinforces our commitment to providing affordable and innovative mobile services to all.”
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