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Angola Telecom prepares for deep restructuring

Article - October 6, 2011
Freed of operating the network, Angola Telecom will focus on improving services
FELICIANO ANTONIO, CHAIRMAN OF ANGOLA TELECOM
Angola Telecom faces an ironic situation. The company is hard at work building up the country’s telecommunications network, while at the same time preparing to be restructured in order to ensure fair competition with its many rivals.

As a new fibre-optic network is being laid around the country, the government and the company are considering a plan to separate the unit building and network maintenance from the commercial side of the business.

Angola Telecom’s restructuring aims to create a company more oriented to market needs and customers and that reaches high levels of operational excellence.
‘WE NEED TO HAVE THE RIGHT INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE RIGHT INVESTMENT TO HELP THE COUNTRY GROW. OUR NETWORK ALREADY COVERS ALL THE PROVINCES, WHICH IS A HUGE INVESTMENT’
MIGUEL VEIGA MARTINS
Executive Director of Unitel

‘ANGOLA HAS EXPERIENCED EXTRAORDINARY DEVELOPMENT IN RECENT YEARS, NOT JUST IN THE TELECOMS AND THE INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY SECTORS, BUT IN ALL SECTORS’

CARLOS BRITO
Board Member and Former CEO of Movicel

Angola Telecom is already taking the necessary steps to plan the breakup, and to focus more on improving client service. Consultants from Germany, Brazil and the Netherlands have been hired to help plan strategies for the new company, while the new infrastructure is being completed.

The company is in the middle of a programme to lay thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable around the country by 2012, with some 4,000 miles already in place, because it recognises the importance of reliable communications to economic growth. Studies have shown that investment in telecommunications generates a growth dividend thanks to telecoms’ capacity to reduce costs of interaction and expand market boundaries and information flows. The impact on economic growth in developing countries may even be twice as large compared to developed ones.

According to Angola Telecom’s management, if Angola intends to be a strong country and a reference in the region and in Africa, its national telecoms operator must also be a reference.

After the end of the civil war in 2002, Angola’s communications infrastructure was practically wrecked and in dire need of investment. Great progress has already been made extending mobile telephone networks around the country, partly by Angola Telecom’s Movicel unit, and partly by its bigger competitor, Unitel.

The roll-out of Angola’s fixed-line network has been slower, hampered partly by the need to clear land mines out of some areas of the countryside. Still, because it is starting almost from zero, the final result will be a totally modern network using the latest technologies. Already over 90 per cent of the fixed-line network is digital.

While mobile telephony has attained a 60 per cent market penetration, fixed-line penetration still stands around 2 per cent. The fibre-optic network is intended to help remedy that situation. When finished it will provide high-quality communications, including internet, to most of the country and abroad.

Angola Telecom hasn’t forgotten the country’s poor either. It plans to install 1,000 pay phones per year around the country for the next few years, giving access to telecommunications even to those who can’t afford a mobile phone.
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