Airtel Africa launches Telesonic to address growing wholesale data demand in Africa

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February 13, 2024
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2 min read
Airtel Africa
  • Airtel Africa has launched Telesonic, a wholesale fibre unit, to transform Africa's wholesale data market, and it has invested in the 2Africa submarine cable system.
  • Consequently, Telesonic, the new unit, will own Airtel Africa's fibre assets and submarine cable systems, which total approximately 75,000km of terrestrial fibre across 14 countries.
  • This move comes after Airtel Africa launched a new data centre business, Nxtra, in December 2023, a year after opening a tier 3 data centre in Lagos. The company aims to build one of the largest and high-capacity data centres.

Airtel Africa's primary markets are East, Central, and West Africa. The telco has 151.2 million customers, 62.7 million data subscribers, and 37.5 million mobile money users. With revenue expected to reach $5.76 billion in 2024, the company aspires to gain a share in the African data market.

In 2025, it plans to open its first sizable Nxtra facility, designed to provide 34MW and host high-density racks, in Lagos, Nigeria. Yashnath Issur, a former Head of the Global Data Centre at Amazon Web Services, oversees the Nxtra business.

Airtel's two projects, Nxtra and Telesonic, will provide enhanced data solutions to governments, large African enterprises, startups, SMEs, and global hyperscalers. 

Airtel Africa CEO Segun Ogunsanya commented on the Telesonic launch, stating that the project would provide "cutting-edge fibre-optic solutions" to address Africa's digital needs across various sectors.

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In early February 2024, the Airtel Africa board announced the launch of a $100 million share buyback programme that would begin in March 2024 and last for more than a year.

According to Ogunsanya, this decision followed the company's impressive operating performance, which included a 9.1% increase in customer volume. 

Additionally, as the current CEO, who has held the position since 2021, plans to retire on July 1, 2024, Airtel Africa intends to welcome Sunil Taldar, the Group's Director of Transformation, as the new CEO. 

Ogunsanya will continue as the inaugural Chair of the Airtel Africa Charitable Foundation, which operates independently of the Airtel Africa Group.

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