Africell may be in line to become Angola's fourth telecoms operator, according to reports in a number of local media publications.
According to Agência Angola Press, an inter-ministerial government working group has asked Africell to submit a formal technical and financial proposal for a unified operating license in the country.
The license will likely permit infrastructure-based mobile, Internet, fixed telephony and pay-TV services. Applications for a fourth license were opened up in September 2019 and the application phase ended in January 2020.
Developing Telecoms reports that two other companies – South Africa's MTN Group and Angola's BAI Investments – had also registered an interest in the fourth license, but it appears that Africell is the chosen company moving forward in the tender process.
Lebanon-headquartered Africell currently has operations in four African markets. It is the market-leading operator in Sierra Leone and The Gambia, with around 58% and 51% market share respectively in each – according to Omdia stats – and is a challenger operator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. The group has a total of more than 12 million active subscribers across its four African operations.
Angola's mobile market, which supports almost 14 million users, is dominated by Unitel, which commands almost 74% market share, with Movicel serving the rest. Angola Telecom, meanwhile, is focused on the fixed and Internet access markets and does not offer mobile services.
A report from South Africa's telecoms regulator shows that smartphone subscriptions in the country are now at over 90%, while a drop in DSL subscriptions saw fixed broadband subscriptions decrease by almost 20% in 2019.
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