Amilcar Safeca, deputy director-general at Angolan mobile operator Unitel, told Jornal de Angola this week that the company plans to expand its network coverage to all of the country’s 542 communes (administrative divisions) ‘in the next two to three years’. The executive indicated that only ‘42%’ (around 230 communes) currently receive services from Unitel, which launched its GSM network in 2001 in capital Luanda before expanding to all 18 provincial capitals and all 165 municipalities by end-2011. The final, ongoing phase of expansion at commune level includes many rural, remote and sparsely populated areas around the country.
Safeca added that other network upgrade projects are in progress, including expansion of capacity in Luanda, as well as ‘doubling’ of capacity in provincial capitals this year, and improvement of indoor mobile signal coverage. Notably, the Unitel official also highlighted that 4G LTE network coverage will be expanded ‘later this year’ to five additional cities, namely Malanje, Cuito, Soyo, Uige and Namibe, joining an existing seven cities in the Unitel 4G footprint (Luanda, Cabinda, Lubango, Huambo, Benguela, Lobito and Dundo). He added that, despite launching 4G in late-2012, Unitel is continuing to invest in 3G network technology, as ‘most’ of its data users remain on the 3G platform. Finally, regarding fibre-optic network expansion, Safeca noted that whilst Unitel’s national inter-province/inter-city fibre backbone is largely complete, it continues to invest in expanding intra-city metropolitan fibre.