Intelvision, a fixed broadband and pay-TV provider in the Seychelles, has revealed a plan to enter the mobile market with a network rollout beginning next year in partnership with Chinese vendor Huawei, the Seychelles Nation reported. Intelvision founder Mukesh Valabhji told the newspaper that the cable/fibre operator has been working on the mobile entry plan for around a year, with a target rollout date of June 2020, initially focusing on ‘4.5G’ services but also deploying 5G technology. Mr Valabhji added that as 5G devices become more accessible, Intelvision will roll out a 5G network across the inner islands in partnership with Huawei. He continued: ‘We will have 95% coverage of Seychelles – Mahe, Praslin, La Digue and all the inner islands – on 4.5G. What is available in Seychelles today, 4G, is only about 50% coverage [although TeleGeography notes that in terms of population coverage, Cable & Wireless Seychelles claims ‘nationwide’ 4G LTE coverage across all three main islands] … 5G we are deploying in June 2020 in town [the capital Victoria], north Mahe and the airport and then slowly expanding throughout the country over the next twelve to 18 months after that.’ Furthermore, Intelvision plans to have full network redundancy, while it expects to invest USD25 million in the mobile network alongside a similar amount for deployment of its own submarine fibre cable.
Regarding the contract with Huawei, Valabhji said: ‘For Seychelles what is more important than the technology is the after-service. Huawei has over 200 technicians based in Mauritius and many more in South Africa and if there is a problem, someone can be here within 24 hours. And that’s the agreement we have with them. They are on call and it is a turnkey project so they will do everything from start to finish until they hand over the whole system to us.’
Mobile service licensing or cellular spectrum concessions were not mentioned in the interview. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, back in 2011 Intelvision was granted permission for ‘Public Land Mobile Network’ operations, whilst in the latest national numbering plan published by the Department of Information Communications Technology (June 2018) Intelvision holds an allocation of fixed telephony (not mobile) phone numbers. The mobile market is currently a duopoly of Cable & Wireless and Airtel Seychelles.