US firm Africell gains 2 mn Angolan subscribers in a month
US-owned mobile network operator Africell, the first wholly foreign-owned operator licensed to provide mobile services in Angola, has acquired two million subscribers in just a month, a diplomat said Friday.
The company went online in the oil-rich southwestern African country on April 7 to join three other mobile phone companies already operating there.
“This is a company that has been in business… for one month and has two million subscribers,” Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said in an online briefing as she wrapped up a three-nation Africa tour to Angola, Gabon and South Africa.
“They are going to bring capability to everybody in Angola,” she said.
Africell non-executive director Peter Pham last year told AFP the company was going to shake up the “overly cosy business environment”.
Angola’s telecommunications market was dominated by Unitel, a private operator that was previously led by the country’s former first daughter Isabel dos Santos.
President Joao Lourenco — who took office in 2017 and faces an election in August — is on a drive to recover Angola from 37 years of alleged corruption and nepotism under his predecessor, Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
American businesses operating in Angola had spoken highly of the new investment-friendly climate in the oil-rich economy, Sherman said.
“There are still issues to be worked on, but… they have seen a change that is positive, they see opportunities now that were not there before, and they feel more confident” to invest in Angola.
Business in the country was previously dominated by the family and cronies of former president dos Santos.