Africell has today made the first call on in its new network in Angola. The major technical milestone marks the start of network operations and prepares the way for a phased roll-out of services.
Africell secured Angola’s 4th unified telecommunications license in February 2021. To reach a state of network readiness in only ten months, unprecedented technical and logistical difficulties - including pandemic-related travel restrictions and supply chain disruptions - have had to be overcome. Activating the network on schedule in Q4 2021 is thanks to a highly motivated team, hard work, and Africell’s entrepreneurial approach to solving complex operational challenges in frontier markets.
The phased launch of services that will follow the first call reflects local and international best practice. It is part of how Africell operates as a Group, deploying services in “layers” and investing the time and resources needed to get things right in the early stages so that customers can ultimately enjoy sustainably high-quality services in the long term. By rolling out commercial services in stages, Africell will ensure the best experience for all current and future customers in Angola. The phased launch begins immediately, with data services being offered from today to selected corporate customers in Luanda.
“We are delighted to kick off our network by making the first call”, says Christopher Lundh, CEO of Africell Angola. “The first call on our new network in Angola is the most significant milestone to date, symbolizing the beginning of a new chapter for our company, the country, and the people of Angola. Moments like this are why we do what we do. Africell’s mission in Angola is to connect people by bringing them closer and using mobile technology to break down barriers. I want to thank every member of the Africell Angola team whose skill and effort has made this happen despite major external challenges”.
Africell has been steadily building out infrastructure in Angola since securing the operating license in February, including opening a data center in Luanda in October. Partnerships with international and local technology vendors such as Nokia, Oracle, and Angola Cables have helped create a high-quality 5G-ready network that will enable fast, reliable and affordable telecommunications products and services. Africell has already invested over $100m in Angola, including building physical infrastructure, and this rate of investment is expected to accelerate.
The Africell Angola team has also expanded, with over 70% of current Africell employees coming from Angola. The company anticipates hiring up to 2,000 direct and indirect employees by mid-2022, 95% of whom will be Angolan. Africell’s activities have also supported approximately 1,000 local jobs among suppliers and other third parties.
“Africell’s strategy Africa is to give consumers a superior telecommunications experience by harnessing the positive forces of competition and disruption”, says Ziad Dalloul, Chairman and CEO of Africell Group. “In Angola, we want our mobile network services to be a springboard for digital transformation – including growth, jobs, and innovation. Africell’s entry to Angola aligns with the government’s reform ambitions and we share the administration’s belief that investments like ours can help Angola realize its potential as a pan-African economic leader”.
Following the first call, Africell engineers will monitor and optimize the performance of the network. As services are offered in phases to corporate and retail customers, coverage will focus initially on Luanda, Angola’s main social and commercial hub which has a population of 8 million people. Coverage and services will later extend to other regions, including Lubango, Benguela and Lobito.