Telecommunications giants, Airtel Nigeria has stated that less than 1% of smartphones currently available in Nigeria are 5G-enabled, creating a barrier to the adoption of the latest mobile technology launched by three operators.

The Director of Marketing at Airtel, Ismail Adesina, disclosed this during a webinar on the need for collaborations to drive 5G in Nigeria.

He also identified two major obstacles to 5G spread in Nigeria including coverage and cost.

As a result of these obstacles, 5G subscriptions in Nigeria were still at 0.83% as of August this year, according to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission.


This was even though three network operators, including Airtel, MTN, and Mafab have launched the technology.

While coverage has to do with operators’ ability to expand the service across the length and breadth of the country, Ismaila said the cost relates to the affordability of devices for the consumers.

To address these issues, he said Airtel plans to invest more in expanding its 5G infrastructure while partnering with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to make 5G phones available in Nigeria and at affordable costs.

Leveraging partnerships
While noting that Airtel is continually investing in infrastructure to expand its service across Nigeria, Ismaila said the company is also leveraging partnerships to drive down the cost of devices.

“There are two constraints on 5G, one is about coverage, and two is about cost. Today, the average cost of a 5G device is still very expensive. And this is why we are partnering with MediaTek and other OEMs. So, when you see devices coming out at very cheap prices, it is because there’s a lot of collaboration between Airtel and MediaTek,” he said.

Speaking on the collaboration with Airtel Nigeria, the Director for Corporate Sales and Marketing, MediaTek Middle East and Africa, Said Rami Osman, said the chip-making company will be deploying its T750-powered Customer Premises Equipment (CPE), to enhance Airtel’s 5G service delivery.

“Our collaboration with Airtel Nigeria focuses on enhancing high-speed internet access through advanced chipsets, offering a wider range of premium and flagship devices while supporting the transition from feature phones to smartphones, and exploring innovative AI-IoT solutions.

This collaboration will drive digital inclusion, revolutionize connectivity in Nigeria, and contribute to sustainable development goals,” he said.

MediaTek powers globally recognized brands by providing state-of-the-art innovations through its latest products and solutions. These offerings span a diverse range, including smartphones, smart devices, automotive technology, satellite connectivity solutions, and next-generation wearables.