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Launched at the end of 2006, Movicel’s new 3G service, Movinet has in just over three months attracted 3,000 subscribers. This scale of subscriber base reflects a number of factors. Luanda has a considerable number of foreign workers who value having a mobile Internet service. There are also a considerable number of corporate users within the Luanda coverage area. Lastly, it is a very fast service for those who can afford the tariffs and Movicel claims that it is more reliable than DSL from Angola Telecom. Currently the fixed line part of the incumbent has only 1,000 broadband subscribers.

A post-paid 150K download service costs US$110. A post-paid 300k download service costs US$170 and I meg service costs US$250. There are also pre-pay plans available across the same download bands. Only the 300K and 1 meg download service actually use the 3G service.

Movicel’s commercial strategy is to slowly lower these initial prices in order to make the service more popular. The service is currently only available in Luanda but will be rolled out to the oil enclave of Cabinda and Angola’s second city Benguela in about one month’s time. There are problems getting back the investment outside major commercial hot spots like these. Currently the service only offers Internet but there will be a system upgrade that will allow video before too long.

Movicel currently has 1 million subscribers against Unitel’s 2.5 million. But it is hoping to give the market leader a run for its money. It has strategies which understandably it does not want to talk about that it believes will make it the market leader in 1-1.5 years time.

Part of the recipe is improving its service against its competitor’s. Although it has coverage in all of Angola’s 18 provinces, it plans to increase both its coverage and the quality of its coverage. In August 2006 it had 230 base stations and by the end of 2007 it plans to have 280 base stations.

There has been some talk of a third mobile entrant being approved by the Government. Movicel’s CTO Feliciano Antonio say:”It will come but this issue has arisen mainly to force existing operators to improve the quality of their service. Competition improves service.” However it appears that a new entrant will come into the market in the next 12 months.