Lebanese-backed, UK-headquartered telecoms group Africell Holding has been selected by the government of Angola to receive the country’s fourth Unified Global operating licence, permitting infrastructure-based mobile, internet, fixed telephony and pay-TV services. In a statement yesterday, reported by Agence France-Presse, the government revealed that its Interministerial Working Group overseeing the bidding process had chosen Africell Holding as the ‘fourth national telecommunications operator’ licensee. Previously, in March the Working Group disclosed that Africell was the sole remaining candidate after South Africa’s MTN Group and Angola’s BAI Investments declined to submit formal bids.
Angola’s mobile market is currently a duopoly of Unitel and Movicel, while state-backed fixed line operator Angola Telecom holds the third Unified Global licence and is planning a mobile launch in partnership with Egyptian-backed Angorascom, TeleGeography notes.
The Africell group operates mobile networks in Gambia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, and also provides internet, pay-TV and mobile money services. In March 2020 Africell Holding completed a strategic group reorganisation by moving its head office from Beirut, Lebanon to London, UK and legally incorporating a US-owned parent company in Jersey (Channel Islands). In 2019 Africell gained a significant investment from the US International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC, previously OPIC).