Airtel Zambia is to invest around USD80 million in its network this year, on top of the almost USD270 million that has already been spent by India’s Bharti Airtel since it acquired the cellco back in 2010. According to the Zambia Daily Mail, the cellco aims to roll out 147 4G-enabled cell sites in Lusaka and Copperbelt this year. Airtel Zambia’s managing director confirmed the plans, and was cited as saying: ‘Our focus in terms of rollout is to enhance quality and coverage; we have spent USD269 million on the network since Bharti Airtel purchased Zain in 2010 … In 2014, we will spend an additional USD80 million in terms of network expansion and coverage with 147 new sites. We have also received an approval of USD62 million to enhance our OPEX in order to manage and enhance the network operations.’
Issuing an update on the current status of the operator’s infrastructure, the executive claimed that Airtel Zambia now has one of widest geographical network footprints in the country, with a total of 1,096 base stations up and running. Under the cellco’s existing rollout plan, it expects to cover more rural areas, with some 353 3G sites expected to be up and running by end-2014.