According to the MacauHub website, Movitel – which was awarded Mozambique’s third mobile concession in November 2010, having tendered a USD29 million bid – has started rolling out infrastructure in the country in preparation for a January 2012 launch. Technical director Huynh Quang Nghia commented: ‘Movitel plans to start operating with substantial coverage of the country’s 128 districts, and in January there will be 95% coverage; two to three months later we will have coverage of 100%’. Movitel, which will operate with the prefix ‘86’, will compete with two established operators in the wireless sector: state-owned mCel and Vodacom Mozambique, which is owned by its South African namesake.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Movitel is a joint venture between Vietnamese military-run GSM network operator Viettel (70%), SPI, the holding company belonging to Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party (29%) and local investor Invespark (1%). Under the terms of the Mozambican licence tender, bidders were required to have at least two million clients in the countries where they already operate, and be able to provide evidence of revenue in excess of USD50 million a year. Movitel was initially given twelve months to commence its operations, although this week’s announcement suggests that the cellco is slightly behind schedule. The company is planning to invest USD465 million over the next five years to roll out its own infrastructure, but will share equipment with mCel in some regions.