Africell signs licence contract allowing mobile launch later this year

4 Feb 2021

Angola’s new mobile market entrant Africell has formalised a contract with the government to become the country’s fourth ‘Unified Global’ telecommunications operator and launch services later this year, it announced in a statement reported by news outlets including Jornal de Angola. After signing the agreement with the Ministry of Telecommunications, Information Technology & Social Communication (Ministerio das Telecomunicacoes, Tecnologias de Informacao e Comunicacao Social, MINTTICS), the Ministry of Finance and the Angolan Institute of Communications (Instituto Angolano das Comunicacoes, INACOM), Africell declared it would invest ‘several hundred million dollars’ in infrastructure and services during the first phase of the project, estimating that it will create 6,500 jobs in the next five years. Founder and chairman of the Africell group, Ziad Dalloul, expressed a commitment to ‘transform the Angolan telecommunications market through lower prices and accessibility’ with a focus on high speed mobile data services and affordable smartphones, adding: ‘Angola is one of the most attractive investment destinations in sub-Saharan Africa and an African leader, so we see this as the next logical step for Africell as we continue to expand our network and deepen our footprint across the continent.’

Africell was officially selected as Angola’s fourth Unified Global operating licensee on 6 July 2020, confirming a decision first announced in May that year, and its new licence permits infrastructure-based mobile, internet, fixed line and pay-TV services. 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 to share infrastructure with Africell, having scrapped a proposed mobile partnership with Egyptian-backed Angorascom, TeleGeography notes. The Lebanese-backed, UK-headquartered Africell group operates mobile networks in Gambia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. In 2019 the company gained a significant investment from the US International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC, previously OPIC).