Angola’s MNOs gear up for 5G

Angola’s MNOs gear up for 5G

Angola’s telecom sector in recent years has benefited from political stability, which has encouraged foreign investment in the sector. The government and regulator have also set in train mechanisms to open up the telecom sector to new competitors, with Africell having secured a universal licence and in so doing becoming the country’s fourth MNO.

The MNOs were slow to develop LTE services, instead relying on their GSM and 3G network capabilities. Angola Telecom did not launch LTE services until mid-2018. This tardiness was partly due to the relatively high cost of LTE-capable handsets, which has discouraged users from upgrading. As a result, there has been slow progress in LTE network development, with only a small proportion of the country covered by network infrastructure. Despite the evident remaining usefulness of LTE and 3G in relation to current data demands, there has been some progress made with 5G. The Ministry of Telecommunications in early 2021 set up a 5G hub to assess 5G user cases, while Unitel and the new MNO Africell since mid-2021 have contracted vendors to provide 5G-ready transmission networks

The government has continued to develop telecom infrastructure to help diversify the country’s economy and lessen its dependence on offshore crude oil production, which accounts for almost all exports and up to 80% of tax revenue. By extending and upgrading telecom networks the government expects businesses to become more efficient and for e-commerce to become a more prominent feature of economic growth. In addition, networks will facilitate rural access to education and health care. However, there is much progress to be made if the country is to improve the business climate and attract investors.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure.

Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • Africell aims to launch commercial services by the end of 2021;
  • Angola and the DRC agree to coordinate spectrum at their borders;
  • New data centre is opened, quadrupling capacity in the country;
  • Government cancels plans for an IPO for Multitel, deciding instead to offer its 90% stake in the operator via a tender;
  • Government ITC and Communications ministries merge to form the Ministry of Telecommunications, Information Technology and Social Communication;
  • Tender is launched for an operator to manage Angola Telecom’s national backbone and metropolitan networks;
  • AngoSat-2 satellite expected to be ready in late 2021;
  • INFOSI aiming to connect an additional 160,000 people to free Wi-Fi;
  • Regulator again cracks down on informal SIM card sales;
  • Report updates include the regulator's market data updates, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

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Developing Telecoms market report summaries are produced in partnership with BuddeCom, the world’s largest continually updated online telecommunications research service.

The above article is a summary of the following BuddeCom report:

Report title: Angola - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Edition: October 2021

Analysts: Henry Lancaster

Number of pages: 112

Companies mentioned in the report: Angola Telecom, Movicel/MoviNet, Unitel, Mercury Telecom (MS Telecom), Telesel, Nexus, Mundo Startel (Telecom Namibia) , Wezacom, Main One, Angola Cable, Angola Communication Systems (ACS), Snet, Multitel, Maxnet, Net One, Internet Technologies Group (ITG), TV Cabo (Visabeira), Portugal Telecom

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