Africell secures Angola’s fourth telco licence
Angola is understood to have awarded a fourth telecoms licence to Lebanese group Africell, a move that is expected to heighten competition in the North African country’s telecommunication services market.
The market is currently dominated by mobile operators Movitel and Unitel and features a combined total of about 14 million subscribers. The third operator, state-owned Angola Telecom, offers fixed line and internet services.
According to media reports, the licence was awarded to Africell on 19 May 2020.
The company has operations in four African countries: DRC, Uganda, Sierra Leon and Gambia.
Angola had awarded the licence to local firm Telstar Telecommunicacoes in 2019, but President João Lourenço reversed the decision claiming the company failed to meet the bidding requirements.
A statement released from the President’s office explained that the cancellation of Telstar was due to non-compliance with the terms of procedure “the requirement relating to the balance sheet and profit and loss statements, and the statement of overall turnover for the last three years.”
Richard Kadoro, a telecoms researcher at the Computer Association of Zambia said: “The awarding of the licence to Africell was very much expected after South Africa’s MTN and Angola’s BAI Investimentos purchased the tender documents, but only Africell formalised the bids.”
In the first tender, MTN was one of the two fully qualified bidders, but the operator dropped out of contention in November 2018 after describing the process as flawed and citing a lack of transparency.