Angola Picks Lebanese Group Africell as Fourth Telecoms Operator
Angola on Tuesday awarded the licence for its fourth telecoms network to Lebanese group Africell, as sub-Saharan Africa's second-biggest oil producer opens other economic sectors to foreign competition.
Africell is already present in four African countries -- Gambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
Angola had awarded the licence last year to a domestic start-up called Telstar but President Joao Lourenco annulled the decision, saying the company failed to meet the bidding requirements.
Angola's mobile phone market, with almost 14 million users, is currently dominated by two privately held companies -- Unitel and Movicel. A third operator, Angola Telecom, offers fixed and internet access but no mobile services.
Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, owns half of Unitel's share capital. She was recently indicted for a host of high-level financial crimes.
Angola is ranked 146 out of 180 countries on Transparency International's corruption perceptions index.
Most of the country's 30 million people live in poverty, failing to benefit from the flood of dollars from crude oil and diamonds.