Friday, December 21, 2012

Angola: Leading in African Telecommunications


Angola’s largest wireless operator by subscribers, Unitel, recently in the last few months launched its 4G LTE services.  Angola's second largest provider, Movicel launched Africa's first commercial LTE network in the country's capital, Luanda with its 4G launch in April 2012.

Both of these LTE service offerings are currently available only in the capital Luanda, but both operators hope to expand coverage to other provinces.  At the end of September 2012 Unitel claimed 8.1 million subscribers, giving it a subscriber market share of 59.1%, comfortably ahead of rival operator Movicel with 41.9%. 

Movicel's LTE network, built with technology from Chinese telecom equipment makers ZTE and Huawei, is designed to enable up to 120M bps Internet access.  LTE is still being piloted by Africa's largest mobile operator, MTN,  in South Africa, making Angola the first country in Africa to have a commercial LTE network.

China's work with Angola to launch the first LTE network in the region is a sign of how China is helping African countries develop the telecom sector in exchange for natural resources, and of Chinese telecom companies' dominance in the African mobile market. In Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, China has spent millions of dollars to develop communication infrastructure in exchange for licenses in extractive industries and construction. (PC Advisor)

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