Portugal Telecom and Angola’s Unitel enter DRC mobile sector

27 December 2005

Lisbon, Portugal, 27 Dec – The Portugal Telecom group (PT) will offer telecoms services soon in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after being awarded an operating license with its partner Unitel of Angola, media reported Tuesday.

Lisbon business daily Jornal de Negocios said that PT and Unitel have purchased a 51 percent stake in Cellco of Zimbabwe, a GSM license holder in the DRC, for an unspecified price.

A further 10 percent of Cellco stock has been acquired by DRC investors and the remaining capital by Kinshasa’s incumbent operator, OPCT.

Cellco had held a GSM 900/1800 MHz license, but had not started operating in the DRC.

PT aims to give network access to most of the DRC within five years and is competing with Vodafone subsidiary Vodacom, Telkom of South Africa and Celtel, partially owned by MTC of Kuwait. Oasis and several smaller firms also operate in the DRC.

Portugal’s largest telecoms group also has interests in fixed and mobile markets in Sao Tome and Principe, Macau, Kenya, Mozambique, Botswana and Angola through its 25 percent stake in Unitel.

PT’s Unitel partnership began in 2000 and the venture posted a turnover of US$ 245 million last year – double the previous year due to a 136 percent increase in subscribers. (macauhub)