Airtel Nigeria, a prominent telecommunications service provider, has formally refuted claims of awarding a substantial contract to WATT Renewable Corporation (WATT) for solar infrastructure across 600 cell sites in Nigeria.
Femi Adeniran, Director of Corporate Communications and CSR at Airtel Nigeria, provided clarity regarding the extent of their collaboration with WATT.
Adeniran emphasized that Airtel Nigeria’s partnership with WATT was confined to a proof-of-concept initiative, covering only 30 sites, of which 18 are currently operational.
This clarification underscores Airtel Nigeria’s unwavering dedication to sustainability goals and Net Zero objectives in their operations.
“The press reports stating that Airtel Nigeria awarded a nationwide contract to WATT Renewable Corporation are inaccurate,” Adeniran asserted.
The background to this solar contract story begins with multiple news outlets, quoting Oluwole Eweje, WATT’s CEO, claiming that Airtel had granted WATT a significant contract to provide over 32MW of solar and storage capacity distributed across Nigeria. These hybrid solar systems were intended to be deployed at 600 locations under an energy-as-a-service model, enhancing Airtel’s power reliability to support network expansion and the introduction of advanced 4G and 5G technologies, he added.
Oluwole Eweje, WATT’s CEO, expressed his perspective, emphasizing the importance of collaborating with Airtel to bring renewable energy to Nigeria’s telecommunications sector.
He highlighted benefits such as supporting Airtel’s sustainability agenda, improving air quality in communities, and enhancing connectivity for millions of users.
Eweje stated, “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 expressed excitement about expanding WATT’s expertise in telecommunications and their commitment to active participation in this sector in the coming months and years.
However, Airtel has now clarified that their partnership with WATT was significantly overstated, refuting reports of the large-scale contract.
In other recent developments, Airtel in Africa witnessed its CEO, Olusegun Ogunsanya, selling 666,174 ordinary shares at the London Stock Exchange (LSE). This transaction, conducted on August 4, yielded £757,440.70, which Airtel plans to use for a property acquisition.
Airtel Africa and Mastercard also introduced a service allowing Airtel’s mobile phone customers across 14 African countries to transfer and receive funds internationally. This initiative aims to strengthen cooperation between Airtel Africa and Mastercard, fostering the digital economy in Africa.
Furthermore, in a bid to address connectivity issues in select regions of Kenya, Airtel plans to establish 349 network sites by the end of 2023, expanding its network of 3,200 sites and enhancing service delivery to consumers while competing with Safaricom.