Angola’s President Joao Lourenco has issued an order authorising the ‘sub-concession’ of state-owned Angola Telecom’s Unified Global licence to a start-up company named Angorascom Telecomunicacoes to offer mobile services, Lusa news agency reported. Presidential Order No. 193/19, dated 4 November 2019, delegates regulator INACOM and the Ministry of Telecommunications & Information Technology to deal with the necessary technical and legal aspects of the sub-concession ‘to ensure the promotion of competition in the provision of electronic communications networks and services throughout the national territory’. Regarding the ownership of the newcomer, Angonoticias.com quoted an interview with Angola Telecom’s head Adilson Miguel dos Santos who disclosed that Angorascom is a branch of the multinational Orascom group, adding that the new company would be a ‘partner’ of the telco. TeleGeography notes that Egyptian-backed Orascom Investment Holding (OIH, formerly Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding) owns a 75% stake in North Korean mobile operator Koryolink and manages Lebanese cellco Alfa under a contract with the local government, alongside fibre cable investment in Pakistan. Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris is the executive chairman of OIH.
Several other online news sites concluded that Angorascom will offer MVNO services, although this was unconfirmed.
The news appears against the backdrop of Angola’s ongoing tender to license a fourth Unified Global operator to compete against cellcos Unitel and Movicel, and fixed line provider Angola Telecom (which is in the process of deploying a mobile network). The competition, launched on 30 September, initially provided for a period of 40 days for submission of applications and qualification of interested parties, but the deadline has been extended to 8 December. Lusa quoted a source from the Ministry of Finance who said the postponement was in response to requests from prospective international bidders for extra time to prepare their applications.