Avanti’s EXTEND Ultra-rural Solution: Continued Contributions to Bridging the Digital Divide in Nigeria

According to the 2020 Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) reports, access to 3G coverage could raise Nigerian households out of extreme poverty by up to four percentage points in just one year and by seven percentage points over two or more years of continuous coverage. In 2021, Avanti Communications announced the launch of Avanti EXTEND, explicitly designed for mobile network operators (MNOs). It provides high-performance and cost-effective 2G, 3G and 4G solutions to remote and hard-to-reach areas across sub-Saharan Africa. 

Specifically, the EXTEND ultra-rural solution has played a crucial role in realising the objectives of the Nigerian Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan of 2020. This plan aims to achieve two significant national goals by 2025: 90% population coverage and a penetration rate of 70%. In recognition of its achievements and for creating more than 200 skilled field engineering positions, the EXTEND programme received accolades from the Nigerian telecoms industry in 2021 and 2022. 

As of 2023, Avanti has deployed over 500 ultra-rural sites in 21 Nigerian states, providing 2G and 3G connectivity to 2.5 million Nigerians. In addition, With the initial 500 sites operational, Avanti is collaborating with local partners to extend connectivity to an ambitious target of 10,000 rural areas over the next five years. Before this initiative, these regions lacked connectivity, forcing residents to undertake arduous journeys on foot or through local buses to reach the nearest towns with mobile network coverage. 

As part of the recognition of Avanti Communications’ commitment to bridging the digital divide on the continent, the telecommunications company has been awarded the Space and Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) 2023 Better Satellite Awards. The accolade acknowledges Avanti Communications’ EXTEND ultra-rural solution dedicated to bridging the digital divide and enabling connectivity in remote and isolated villages in Nigeria for the very first time.

Furthermore, Avanti also provides the long-term sustainability maintenance of the service by delivering capacity training to local field teams within the regions. By doing so, Avanti guarantees that the sites can be efficiently maintained by local personnel, thereby reducing the reliance on Avanti’s field technicians for consistent service delivery. These developments have lessened the time and financial burdens of travelling to nearby cities for mobile connectivity. In addition, small businesses are booming in the now-connected villages, including resellers of SIM cards, phone charging and repair facilities and many other new enterprises. 

Avanti’s EXTEND ultra-rural solution is not only reshaping the mobile network coverage scene in Nigeria but also establishing a model for other nations dealing with geographic and infrastructure hurdles. The telecommunication company is also laying the foundation for remote communities to gain access to essential services like online education, telehealth, and digital commerce, services that were previously out of reach due to connectivity limitations. 

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