Angola is edging further away from mobile duopoly status with the news that Leonel Augusto, the chairman of the Angolan Institute of Communications (INACOM) has supported Africell’s aim of launching services in the second half of next year.
According to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, Augusto has confirmed that new mobile market entrant Africell is following the procedures required to exercise its right to operate. Most of these are now complete and INACOM is currently finalising details of the concession contract.
Angola’s government issued a mobile licence to Africell Holdings in May. It was the only candidate for the licence as South Africa’s MTN Group and Angolan firm BAI Investments chose not to bid. Africell’s licence will allow it not just to build out mobile infrastructure but to offer internet, fixed-line and pay-TV services.
Until now, the dominant players in the mobile space have been Movicel and Unitel, although the state-backed fixed provider Angola Telecom, which holds a Unified Global licence, has plans to enter the mobile space. However, an infrastructure sharing deal between Angola Telecom and Egypt-backed Angorascom has been dropped. Angola Telecom now seems likely to share with Africell.
Originally headquartered in Lebanon, Africell now operates from the UK and provides mobile networks in several African markets, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
It has announced big plans for the Angolan market, not only in terms of investment, but in terms of services and pricing.