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Viettel reaching out over Africa

Released at: 15:00, 24/07/2015

Viettel reaching out over Africa

Investments in the continent performing strongly with research now being conducted in other markets.

by Son Ho

Viettel’s mobile signal and optical cables are gradually covering more parts of Africa, with three networks already in place: Nexttel in Cameroon, Lumitel in Burundi, and Halotel in Tanzania.

Its foreign investment in the continent is thriving. Only a short period after obtaining license it has quickly developed its infrastructure in the three markets.

Viettel’s Lumitel network in Burundi began operations in March and results have been positive to date. Mr. Tao Duc Thang, Deputy General Director of Viettel Corporation and General Director of Viettel Global, said that in the first two months of operations it signed up 800,000 subscribers and now has 920,000.

In Tanzania, Halotel is in the final phase of infrastructure construction. It will provide services starting in October, a year after obtaining a license. In addition to basic services such as sound, ring tones, MobiTV, etc, it will also offer personalized services such as the prayer reminders. Halotel also has special cards with value-added services on both the 2G and 3G platforms, which will be provided to customers on the first day of operations.

Viettel has a strategy to invest in all 26 provinces in the country, even to rural areas, which is something that even local telecommunications firms like Tigo are unable to do. It aims to be the country’s leading network provider in the next five or ten years.

In Cameroon, as at end of May, or nine months after establishing its network, Nexttel had over 2 million customers and total revenue of $29 million. It covers 70 per cent of Cameroon’s population with 2G and has the biggest 3G coverage.

“With 1,500 mobile sales staff, over 4,000 points of sale, and 97 authorized dealers, Nexttel is fully capable of providing services to any area in Cameroon,” said Mr. Nguyen Hoang Long, General Director of Viettel Cameroon.

Africa is currently the main strategic market of Viettel. Since 2011 it has quietly approached and explored African markets. On January 10, 2011 it was licensed to provide mobile telecommunications services in Mozambique, called Movitel, which to date covers 80 per cent of the country’s population and 95 per cent of its villages, with a market share of 38 per cent. Revenue in 2014 was over $170 million.

According to Mr. Thang, Viettel is now conducting market research in other African countries such as Burkina Faso, Kenya, Swaziland, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Madagascar.

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