It can happen: Viettel's Burundian start-up Lumitel notches 600k subs in first month

30 Jun 2015

Vietnamese military-backed telecoms group Viettel has confirmed that its 2G and 3G networks are now live in Burundi. Legally registered as Viettel Burundi SA, the company is headquartered in Bujumbura and operates under the Lumitel brand name. In an interview with Mobile World Live, Le Dang Dung, the company’s deputy managing director, disclosed that the cellco has signed up an impressive 600,000 subscribers in its first month of service.

According to a statement by Viettel Global – the company’s international investment arm – Lumitel aims to become the largest telecom operator in Burundi with 1,000 base stations, supporting 95% population coverage. In addition, the company seeks to deploy 5,000km of fibre-optic infrastructure, ahead of its planned entry into the country’s fixed line telecoms sector.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Viettel was awarded a licence by the Burundian authorities back in February 2014. At that time it was suggested that Viettel held a 95% stake in the new business, although the identity of the minor stakeholder was not disclosed.