Guinea-Bissau’s incumbent national PTO, Companhia de Telecomunicacoes da Guine-Bissau (Guine Telecom), has signed a contract with Huawei Technologies to enable the upgrade and modernisation of its networks, with a specific focus on relaunching its ‘Guinetel’ mobile service. The collaboration plan, titled the ‘Guinea Bissau GT Network Modernization Project’, targets investment of XOF36 billion (USD59.7 million) and will culminate in the incumbent regaining its footing as the country’s third mobile operator, after having to effectively abandon mobile services in 2014 amid a chronic lack of equipment and infrastructure capacity on its cellular network. According to Agence Ecofin, under the Huawei-led upgrade the vendor will deploy some 150 base transceiver stations (BTS) to support the relaunch. No details on the nature of the technology platform to be used have been divulged, but Guinetel operates a GSM-900/1800 network in the country.
In August 2015 TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported Guine Telecom as confirming a plan to manage the tiny African nation’s telecommunications infrastructure via a new plan that will see it transformed into a holding company. The plan was revealed at the time by the secretary of state for transport and communications, Joao Bernardo Vieira, who was responding to parliamentary questions in the National Assembly. Vieira said the government was committed to making the telco more profitable, and as such will organise the firm to make it better able to manage all telecommunications infrastructure in Guinea-Bissau, including fibre-optic networks and the future connection to a submarine cable. Both Guinea Telecom and Guinetel are technically ‘bankrupt’, having fallen into the red several years ago, with workers accusing top brass of mismanagement while pointing a finger at the government for a lack of input in resolving the situation.