Unitel, the leading cellular operator

From cellular phones to cellular Internet access,   Unitel is improving communications for millions
Unitel has grown rapidly since it began commercial operations in 2001, when the country had only a rudimentary communications network, because of the civil conflict that finally ended in 2002. Unitel and its local competitor have joined with the Angolan government to make huge investments over the past decade to bring the country’s information and voice network up to date and to spread it to all 17 provinces and their capitals.

“The investments made by the state and by telecommunications companies in this sector will permit us to offer services that will make it easier for businesses to carry out their activities,” said Amilcar Safeca, Unitel’s Deputy CEO.

In March, Unitel completed the process of spreading its network to all 164 municipalities, and now reaches more than 90% of the country’s territory with cellular telephone and Internet access services.

That expansion is the fruit of Unitel’s current investment plan, which when completed will have spent $800 million on improving and extending the network, and on adding a new undersea cable linking Angola with the rest of the world. The new connection should be finished by the end of the year, and will significantly increase the capacity of the international link.

Unitel’s achievement of spreading its network has won it many new clients, reaching some 6.5 million in a country with a population of 18 million. The company is also a financial success, having managed to finance most of its expansion without having to borrow money.

Unitel’s management is still deciding if it will sell shares on the country’s stock exchange, which is scheduled to begin operations this year, but given its commercial success, if the decision is made to carry out a public share sale, it’s sure to be just as successful.

PROJECT: Joel Malo, Fatima Ruiz and Saturnino Izquierdo