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Angola to Get New Operator, Part Privatize Incumbent

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Angola is set to award a multiservice license to a new network operator that would introduce further competition into the telecoms and TV markets in the southern African nation.

The government plans to issue a tender for a new telecoms operator that would be able to offer fixed line, mobile and TV services. The move appears to be part of a more general shake-up of the country's economy under new president João Gonçalves Lourenço, who came to power in August. Angola's economy is in the doldrums following years of low oil prices (oil revenues account for about 70% of the country's GDP), as this World Bank analysis shows.

The country already has two mobile operators, according to Ovum's World Cellular Information Service (subscription required): Unitel Angola dominates the market with about 11.8 million customers, giving it a market share of about 85%; while Movicel is its challenger, with about 1.8 million customers and a market share of about 15%.

But that leaves plenty of opportunity for growth as Angola has a population of about 29 million. In addition, it is investing in its international connectivity via subsea cables and plans to launch its first communications satellite (AngoSat-1) in 2018, moves that will support economic growth and spur demand for communications services. (See Subsea Link to Brazil Takes Shape and Angola Cables Adds Euro Connections.)

However, the country faces an uphill struggle to get its economy back on track. So, in addition to any funds raised from awarding a new license, the government is also seeking to raise some cash through a part privatization of the country's state-owned fixed line operator Angola Telecom, which owns a minority stake in Movicel as well as running the country's long distance and fixed line access networks.

— The staff, Connecting Africa<

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