Airtel Nigeria, a prominent telecommunications service provider, has officially denied reports suggesting that it awarded a contract to WATT Renewable Corporation (WATT). The telecommunications company denies having entered into an agreement with WATT to provide over 32MW of installed capacity for solar PV and storage across 600 cell sites scattered throughout Nigeria.
Femi Adeniran, the Director of Corporate Communications and CSR at Airtel Nigeria, clarified the extent of Airtel’s involvement with WATT Renewable Corporation. Adeniran emphasized that Airtel Nigeria’s collaboration with WATT was limited to a proof-of-concept initiative, focusing on a mere 30 sites. Out of these 30 commissioned sites, he confirmed that 18 are currently operational.
He underlined Airtel Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to its sustainability goals and the relentless pursuit of its Net Zero objectives throughout its operations.
“The report in the press about Airtel Nigeria awarding this nationwide contract to WATT Renewable Corporation is inaccurate”, Adeniran said.
The backstory of Airtel’s solar contract for 600 base stations
Numerous news publications, citing Oluwole Eweje, WATT’s CEO, reported that Airtel had granted WATT, a provider specializing in hybrid solar solutions, a substantial contract. This contract aimed to supply over 32MW of solar and storage capacity distributed throughout Nigeria.
Additionally, these publications asserted that these hybrid solar systems, slated for deployment at 600 locations through an energy-as-a-service approach, were poised to offer Airtel enhanced power reliability. This would support Airtel’s efforts to extend network coverage and introduce advanced 4G and 5G technologies.
In the same reports, Oluwole Eweje, the CEO of WATT, expressed his perspective. He highlighted the significance of collaborating with Airtel, emphasizing that it presented a remarkable opportunity to bring renewable energy to Nigeria’s telecommunications sector. He stressed the importance of such a move for the sector’s sustainable growth, citing benefits such as supporting Airtel’s sustainability objectives, improving air quality for neighbouring communities, and ultimately enhancing connectivity for millions of users.
In the reports, the WATT CEO was quoted saying:
“Working with Airtel offers a brilliant opportunity to deliver renewable energy to the Nigerian telecommunications space, which will be essential to the continued sustainable growth of the sector. Not only will it support Airtel’s sustainability agenda and improve air quality for adjacent communities, but it will also enhance the connectivity of millions of users”.
Furthermore, Eweje conveyed his excitement about expanding WATT’s expertise within the telecommunications arena, indicating a commitment to active participation in this field in the months and years ahead.
“We’re excited to grow our expertise in telecommunications, a space where we will continue to be active over the coming month and years”, Eweje expressed.
However, Airtel has now clarified that the extent of its partnership with WATT has been grossly overstated.
Airtel in Africa
A month ago, Airtel in Africa announced the sale of 666,174 ordinary shares by its CEO, Olusegun Ogunsanya. The deal that was carried out on August 4 at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) involved the sale of 666,174 shares at the rate of £1.37 per share.
Following the sale, Ogunsanya gained £757, 440.70 which, according to the telco, will be used to fund a property purchase.
Airtel Africa and Mastercard unveiled a service that will allow Airtel’s mobile phone customers across 14 African countries to transfer and receive funds internationally. The new service is designed for over 100 million mobile phone users of Airtel in Africa to bolster stronger cooperation between Airtel Africa and Mastercard in boosting the digital economy on the continent.
To tackle connectivity issues in select Kenyan regions, Airtel intends to establish 349 network sites before 2023 ends. It already has a network of 3,200 sites. The telco also intends to add 300 sites to the mix to improve service delivery to consumers and heap pressure on Safaricom.
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