Brian Thompson, ICT Africa
August 22, 2013
Contrary to many people’s perception of a war ravaged and impoverished Angola, the telecommunication industry in Angola is booming. Through privatisation and investment in different aspects of telecommunications, the government of Angola is ensuring unprecedented growth in the industry.
Although the industry is heavily regulated by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Angola has a number of competitive telecommunication players that help drive growth.
The incumbent, Angola Telecom operates a fixed line network and has several subsidiaries that offer different services. These include Movicel – which operates a mobile network; Multitel –which is a satellite broadband Internet service provider and TVCarbo a cable TV operator. Two competitors to Angola Telecom, MS-Telecom and Startel also have licenses to operate fixed line networks.
The most successful mobile network operator in Angola is Unitel with over 6 million subscribers and about twice the size of its competitor, Movicel. Unitel offers a full spectrum of mobile voice and data services and is the first operator in Africa to deploy 100Gbps fibre transmission technology in part of its national backbone.
Not to be outdone by Unitel, Movicel was the first operator in Angola and one of the first few in Africa to deploy an LTE network. The network was deployed in the province of Cabinda, the most productive crude oil region in Angola.
The government of Angola has been very supportive of the growth of the telecommunication industry in the country. Cognizant of the importance of a robust fibre optic network for high quality and high speed transmission, the government recently invested, through the oil company Sonangol, in a fibre optic cable plant. Angolacabos, the fibre plact operator, is expected to supply optical fibre cable to all the operators in Angola. By producing fibre cable in Angola, operators can serve on high cost of duty and shipment from overseas.
The Angolacabos cable plant is one of the many industries established in the Zona Economica Especial (Special Economic Zone) of Luanda. This is part of the government’s plan to use oil money to diversify into other industries.