Angola Telecom plans to return to profitability in 2015 with government assistance
This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Angola’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered in this half-yearly update include:
- Key statistics;
- Market and industry overviews;
- Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
- Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
- Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
- Telecoms operators – privatisation, restructuring, acquisitions, new licences;
- Infrastructure development;
- International submarine fibre optic cables;
- National fibre backbone networks;
- Mobile voice and data markets;
- Internet and broadband development and pricing, including 3G and 4G mobile (LTE);
- Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
- Mobile market forecasts for 2015 and 2018.
Angola is the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa. With peace restored in 2002 after decades of civil war, foreign investment has multiplied and the mobile market has soared despite a continued duopoly between Unitel and Angola Telecom’s Movicel. Intensified competition from a new unified licensing regime could accelerate growth further. Several multinational operators have expressed interest in taking up a licence or other strategic investments in Angola in the $100 million range.
The government in recent years has aimed to develop telecom capacity 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. In the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’ for June 2013 Angola ranked 179th of 189 countries benchmarked.
Competition was also 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 (AT) 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.
EV-DO and WiMAX-based fixed-wireless as well as 3G and 4G (LTE) mobile broadband services are now also providing more internet access choices for consumers, competing with AT's ADSL, cable modem and Fibre to the Home (FttH) services. Prices have started to come down with the landing of WACS, the second international fibre optic submarine cable in the country, following years of monopolisation by AT of SAT-3/WASC, the only international cable serving the country until 2012. The operators have budgeted billions of $ in investments into mobile broadband and national fibre backbone networks for the period 2013-15.
Angola Telecom is going through a restructuring process with the help of international consultants, which is seen as a step towards greater liberalisation of the country’s telecom market, improved efficiency of the national telco and its eventual privatisation. A majority stake in its mobile unit, Movicel has already been sold to private investors and a migration from CDMA to GSM/UMTS/LTE technology has delivered a boost to the mobile market in the past two years. AT has national and international fibre, copper and satellite infrastructure assets worth billions of $. As part of the restructuring program, the government injected more than $300 million into the company in 2012. Angola is preparing to launch its first own communications satellite into orbit in 2014.
Oi prepares to sell its stake in Africatel Holdings as part of its merger with Portugal Telecom; Intelsat signs multi-year agreement with MS Telcom to provide broadband services to the gas, oil and banking sectors; National Centre for Information Technology (NITC) launches its Angola Online project to provide free WiFi access; Multitel contracts Telrad Networks to migrate its network from WiMAX to TD-LTE; PRIT project extends AT's broadband network to Uige province; Unitel claims to have ten million subscribers; government releases its National Plan for Information Society (PNSI) and Strategic Plan for Electronic Government 2013-2017; first LTE-Advanced service launched; new 40Tb/s international cable planned; FttP and national fibre backbone network rollouts; billions of $ in investments budgeted for 2013-15; Unitel’s shareholders announce intention to buy out the 25% stake in the operator held by Portugal Telecom; Angola Telecom continues with restructuring, launches a stand-alone broadband offering; report includes recent market developments.
Estimated market penetration rates in Angola’s telecoms sector – end-2014
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
Companies covered 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.