Angola’s fourth unified licensee Africell launches mobile services

13 July 2022





Angola’s telecom sector in recent years has benefited from political stability, which has encouraged foreign investment in the sector. The government and regulator have also set in train mechanisms to open up the telecom sector to new competitors, with Africell having secured a universal license and in so doing becoming the country’s fourth MNO. Following an extensive investment program, the company launched mobile services in April 2022.

The MNOs were slow to develop LTE services, instead relying on their GSM and 3G network capabilities. Angola Telecom did not launch LTE services until mid-2018. This tardiness was partly due to the relatively high cost of LTE-capable handsets, which has discouraged users from upgrading. As a result, there has been slow progress in LTE network development, with only a small proportion of the country covered by network infrastructure. Despite the evident remaining usefulness of LTE and 3G in relation to current data demands, there has been some progress made with 5G. The Ministry of Telecommunications in early 2021 set up a 5G hub to assess 5G user cases, while Unitel and the new MNO Africell since mid-2021 have contracted vendors to provide 5G-ready transmission networks. The regulator in November 2021 granted licenses to Africell, Movicel, and Unitel to enable them to offer 5G services, with spectrum in the 3.3-3.7GHz range having been set aside for such services.

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Mauritania completes national broadband backbone network

10 June 2022

Mauritania’s small population and low economic output has limited the country’s ability to develop sustained growth in the telecom sector. Relatively low disposable income has restricted growth in the use of services, and thus of revenue which telcos can hope to gain from subscribers. In turn, this has impacted on their ability to invest in network upgrades and improvements to service offerings. This has been reflected in the repeated fines imposed against them by the regulator for failing to ensure a good quality of service. There are also practical challenges relating to transparency and tax burdens which have hindered foreign investment.

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Namibia’s telcos go for network sharing

13 May 2022

Namibia’s telecom market has developed strongly since the second mobile network operator was licenced in 2006, thereby introducing effective competition between MTC Telecom Namibia and Paratus Telecom.

The government’s Broadband Policy aims to provide 95% population coverage by 2024, supported by the efforts of telcos including Paratus Telecom which continue to invest in their own extensive network objectives.

Mobile network coverage has increased sharply in recent years. By the beginning of 2021, 3G infrastructure provided 89% population coverage while LTE infrastructure provided 79% coverage (compared to only 40% a year earlier). Developments with 5G have been delayed, partly due to unsubstantiated public concerns over health implications of the technology which caused the government to order an environmental assessment of 5G in mid-2020. Nevertheless, the government has requested the regulator to speed up its 5G development strategy.

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Nigeria’s government approves funding for more satellite connectivity

07 April 2022

Nigeria has one of the largest telecom markets in Africa, supported by the second largest economy on the continent after South Africa.

In recent years, the telecom sector has benefitted from sympathetic regulatory measures aimed at improving competition and developing infrastructure. This has helped boost the country’s fixed-line broadband sector, which has seen considerable consolidation among players in recent years. The government aims to increase broadband penetration to 70%, largely via mobile networks but also supplemented by satellite connectivity covering remote areas.

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