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Mozambique's Tmcel plays catch up with 4G deployment

Mozambique's Tmcel plays catch up with 4G deployment

Mobile operator Mozambique Telecom (Tmcel) is leaning on Chinese expertise and financial support to help it catch up with competitors - including Vodacom and Movitel, that already offer 4G coverage.

Vodacom Mozambique deployed 4G coverage in Mozambique in 2018 after renewing its telecom licence. This year, Movitel, the smallest operator in the country, also rolled out 4G internet connectivity, although coverage was initially said to be restricted to the capital, Maputo.

Now Tmcel says it will deploy LTE internet connectivity on its network by the end of this year. The service will initially cover Maputo and environs before being expanded to other areas.

"By the end of November this year, Tmcel will introduce 4G technology as part of its project to modernise and upgrade its entire transmission network," Mozambique Telecom said in an announcement at the weekend.

Communications minister for Mozambique, Carlos Mesquita is quoted by local press as having confirmed the company's 4G program will be expanded, with finance reportedly being sourced from China.

"The second phase of the project will be launched with a view to its expansion to the entire national territory, financing for which has already been secured from the Chinese government," he said.

Tmcel is also undertaking a network upgrade to improve its services, including fixed phone services.

The telco said that the network upgrade involves bringing in new telecom infrastructure and equipment which will help in "improving quality and coverage as well as increasing speed" of connectivity.

Deployment of 4G connectivity bodes well for efforts to prop up internet connectivity in the southern African country.

In May 2019, the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) said only a fifth of its (Mozambique) population (is) online and added that "Mozambique continues to be less connected than its regional neighbours."

The hope is that government policies to regulate the industry will stimulate online growth.

"New policies introduced within the last two years have the potential to improve the situation significantly. It is now critical that the government, together with Mozambique's private sector and other partners, follows through on these plans," said A4AI.

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