In 2019, the American company Africell obtained the unified telecommunications license to launch Angola’s fourth telecom operator. The commercial launch, initially scheduled for the second half of 2021, has been postponed several times, in particular due to certain external challenges.
The Africell group, holder of Angola’s fourth unified telecom license, officially started its commercial activities in the country on Thursday, April 7. The company thus joins Angola Telecom, Unitel and Movicel on the national telecoms market which it claims to want to “ upset ” by opening a new era of competition. Africell will provide fixed voice, mobile (2G, 3G, 4G), data, and even television services.
“ From today, Angolan mobile users will have more choices and better prices. They will have access to a mobile operator they can trust and who puts their best interests first. Africell’s strategy is to give all Angolans the digital tools they need to realize their potential ,” said Chris Lundh (pictured), President and CEO of Africell Angola.
The commercial launch of Africell comes fourteen months after obtaining the fourth unified telecommunications license in Angola. It was awarded as part of a national reform program that plans to welcome more competition and innovation in key sectors such as telecommunications. In February 2021, the company settled its financial obligations relating to this resource which had been allocated to it following a new call for tenders launched in October 2019, following the cancellation for several breaches of the first launched since 2017 and won in April 2019 by Telstar.
Since then, Africell has invested more than $150 million in the telecom market to build a high-quality 5G-compatible network with an initial capacity of more than 6 million subscribers. The telecom company has made use of the expertise of international and local technology providers such as Nokia, Oracle, MSTelcom and Angola Cables for this purpose. It has also set up a data center in the capital. Recently, the company signed an interconnection agreement with the public operator Unitel to allow its subscribers to communicate with those of the competing network. Negotiations for sharing telecom infrastructure with Unitel are still ongoing.
Africell will contribute to bringing more competition to the national telecom market, in particular with the introduction of new products and services. The company also intends to use its network to stimulate economic growth and social development with the creation of more than a thousand jobs, mainly for Angolans. For the government, the launch of Africell marks positive progress in efforts to open up the Angolan economy.