Virus impact over each market - telecom operators, government agencies and regulators' responses - revised forecasts for the next 5 years.
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 remained a duopoly between Unitel and Movicel for many years: although Angola Telecom had a share in the market it did not launch LTE services until mid-2018, while service expansion has been timed with plans to privatise the operator. Nevertheless, there has been slow progress in LTE network development, with only a small proportion of the country covered by network infrastructure. Much of the investment from telcos is still geared to 3G, given that the majority of data users remain on this platform.
A new unified licensing regime introduced in late 2017 has allowed for two additional licensees to operators across all sectors. One of these licenses was awarded in July 2020, to Africell.
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.
BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.
On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.
Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.
The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.
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.
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