Angola to Launch Africa’s First LTE Network

Movicel, Angola’s second largest mobile network operator with an estimated 2.5 million subscribers has announced it is launching Africa’s first commercial LTE network...


Movicel, Angola’s second largest mobile network operator with an estimated 2.5 million subscribers has announced it is launching Africa’s first commercial LTE network. It is working with two leading Chinese vendors, Huawei and ZTE and plans to offer the service commercially as early as the end of May 2012.

The ZTE network will initially cover Luanda province, the most densely populated area containing the country’s capital city but will roll out country-wide. In this respect ZTE appears to have got the larger share of the pie, although the Huawei contract covers the most commercially important oil producing province.

The ZTE network will be based on the company’s latest Uni-RAN and Uni-Core solutions. As part of the project, ZTE will provide LTE equipment for key Movicel markets across the country. In addition ZTE will upgrade Movicel’s current 3G core network to support LTE services. ZTE also will provide network management and maintenance services.

“Movicel is dedicated to creating a truly wireless lifestyle for Angola,” said Movicel CEO Yon Moreira da Silva Junior. “This new LTE network is a breakthrough for Angola’s economy and society. We are confident we will build one of the biggest and best LTE networks in Africa.”

Frustratingly for ZTE, Chinese rival Huawei pipped their story by 24 hours by announcing another Movicel contract to build an LTE network in the commercially vital Angolan enclave of Cabinda, the country’s key oil producing area.

Under this contract, Movicel will deploy a Huawei LTE FDD 1.8 GHz network in Cabinda. Movicel is deploying an end-to-end SingleRAN convergent solution, including RAN (Radio Access Network), CN (Core Network), DBS (Distributed Base Station) and terminal devices, all from Huawei.

The network has been designed based on actual customer and traffic maps generated by the company. Using SDR (Software Defined Radio) technology, the network simultaneously aims to meet subscriber demand for both voice and data under different technologies (GSM/UMTS/LTE) with one single frequency band resource.

Movicel has drawn up a network development blueprint which will provide mobile broadband services with a downlink speed of up to 100Mb/s across the entire country, starting from the high-value and dense urban areas, such as the capital Luanda. The strategy aims to meet the booming demand for telecommunications services in the Angolan market, especially from large enterprises.

According to Yon Moreira da Silva Junior the development is aligned with Angola’s booming economy and will support the country’s growth: “Movicel is doing its share to pave the future of Angola and Africa with this state-of-the-art communication infrastructure. It will remove the gap between Northern and Southern hemispheres networks.”

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