Movitel aims to cover 85% of population by 2015; plans to share cell towers with mCel

11 Nov 2010

Movitel, the Vietnamese military-backed cellco that acquired Mozambique’s hotly contested third mobile phone licence this week, has announced its intention to invest USD400 million in its new network, aiming to achieve 85% population coverage within five years of launch. The statement emerged after mCel chairperson, Teodato Hunguana told independent daily ‘O Pais’ that Movitel will have to make a major effort ‘because the market is not infinitely elastic’. However, mCel has confirmed that it intends to share its existing cell towers with Movitel in a gesture of goodwill. mCel managing director Salvador Adriano said that this would allow mCel to raise more revenue, whilst saving Movitel from building out an entirely separate network. Regulatory body Instituto Nacional das Comunicacoes (INCM) has consistently urged mCel and Vodacom to share their infrastructures, but the two cellcos have been unable to reach an agreement, leading to a surplus of duplicate mobile phone masts across the country.

According to local press reports, Movitel’s technical proposal scored 95.05 points, outclassing rival participants TMN (77.8 points) and UNI-Telecom (76.78 points). Despite not offering the highest financial package of the three bidders, when the technical and financial components were factored together, Movitel still emerged ahead with 96.437 points; UNI-Telecom scored 86.547 and Portugal’s TMN 80.764.