Nigerian telecoms infrastructure company IHS plans to set up another three transmission towers in West or East Africa, or both, by 2017.
“We plan to own 20,000 sites within the next four years,” Issam Darwish, Chief Executive at IHS, told Reuters.
The company is looking at investing in six more African countries, other than Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Sudan, South Sudan and Nigeria where their towers are already established.
Mobile networks are expected to spur on the growth, mainly for Internet access. This estimation by Darwish is dependent on the governmental provision of necessary radio spectrum.
“Data demand is going to surprise and explode beyond expectations, we just have to get the regulators to provide operators with enough spectrum,” said Darwish.
Lagos already hosts 3,100 IHS base stations with transmitter mobile phone signals. The company also controls 2,000 telecom sites on the continent on behalf of operators such as Indian Bharti Airtel, Etisalat Nigeria and South African MTN.
IHS is a popular choice for African operators that sell or pool transmitter towers to save on running cost.
“We started in Nigeria a year ago because it’s our biggest operation and now that we know what to do we started with Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Sudan,” said Darwish.
Nigerian sites will be increased from 1,300 to 1,800 during 2013 to keep seven million subscribers, currently still without Internet coverage, connected.