Airtel Niger, the local cellular unit of Indian telecoms company Bharti Airtel, has been awarded a 15-year licence for the establishment and operation of a 3G network, Reuters reports, citing a government statement. The West African country has also agreed to renew Airtel’s existing 2G concession, for a total consideration of XOF34 billion (USD69.8 million). Then operating as Celtel Niger, the cellco secured one of three 15-year GSM-900 licences in December 2000, and was the first operator to launch cellular services, inaugurating its network in the capital Niamey in October 2001. Airtel has remained the country’s largest cellco by subscribers ever since, with a customer base of over three million at the end of March 2014, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.
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