Angola's telecom sector prepares for new universal licence players
Angola's telecom sector has showed consistent recovery following the end of a decades-long civil war in 2002. Political stability has encouraged foreign investment while the government and regulator have started the process of opening up the telecom sector to new competitors. The mobile market remains as a duopoly between Unitel and Movicel, in which Angola Telecom has a share, while Angola Telecom is also looking to enter the mobile market in its own right later in 2018. There has been particularly good progress in LTE network development. A new unified licensing regime introduced in mid-2017 has allowed for two additional licensees to operator across all sectors. Angola Telecom is also in the process of being part-privatised, with the government aiming to sell a 55% interest in the company.
The government has aimed to develop telecom infrastructure in a bid to 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.
Competition has been introduced in the underdeveloped fixed-line market, but launch delays and consolidation among the newly licensed players have led to a duopoly in this sector as well between Angola Telecom and Mercury Telecom. After three years of loss-making operations, Telecom Namibia pulled out of its investment in fixed-wireless operator Mundo Startel, citing regulatory obstacles. The market is expected to undergo considerable change later into 2018 as two additional universal licensees begin to offer competition across all sectors.
Angola Telecom continues to be restructured as part of steps towards greater liberalisation of the telecom market. The company, which retained a stake in its mobile unit Movicel when it was sold to private investors, aims to enter the mobile market in its own right, with a focus on developing LTE services.
Government makes progress on Angola Telecom restructure plans, aims to retain a 45% stake;
Angosat-1 launched to provide TV and telecoms services;
Fourth multi-service licence to be offered in 2018;
Regulator cracks down on informal SIM card sales;
Regulator auctions 800MHz spectrum;
TV Cabo rebrands fibre service as Viv, secures 20 million loan from the EIB to expand broadband networks;
Unitel trials 450Mb/s LTE-A technology and VoLTE services;
Angola Cables progressing with South Atlantic Cable System linking Luanda with Brazil;
National Centre for Information Technology (NITC) launches Angola Online Wi-Fi project;
Multitel migrates network from WiMAX to TD-LTE;
Report updates include recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this 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; Angola Cables.