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Burundi's Lumitel ready to roll with 4G nationally

Lumitel ready to roll with 4G nationally

Lumitel, a major telecoms operator in Burundi and subsidiary of Viettel, has announced its 4G services are now available nationally.

The telco officially launched its 4G service in February 2016, with a focus on specific regions including Bujumbura, Gitega, Makamba, Muyinga, Ngozi and Rumonge.

The telco is now ready to expand this service nationally and expects to increase its market share by extending its reach to unserved rural communities.

To drive the nationwide 4G service, the operator has deployed 3,300 kilometers of optical fibre and installed 112 4G antennas to strengthen its already existing infrastructure which includes 615 2G antennas and 278 3G antennas.

Nguyen Huy Tan, Director at Viettel Burundi revealed the company has invested significantly in a network upgrade, but did not disclose the amount that has been spent.

The Burundian government issued an operating license to Lumitel for over US$10 million making it the country's sixth operator. Viettel set up the company from the US$291 million it set aside in January to finance new capital projects.

Although it was the last telco operator to launch in Burundi in 2015, Lumitel now controls 55% market share with over 2 million subscribers ahead of Econet, Onamob, U-com, VTEL Holdings and Smart.

According to its latest report on Lumitel, Viettel revealed that the Burundian operator recorded the strongest financial growth of any of its four African subsidiaries in H1 2017, with revenue growth of 38% to US$25.19 million, compared to US$18.26 million in 2016.

It is attributing the feat to strategic investments in its mobile networks and services. In addition to expanding 4G, the company also believes its mobile money servicer, Lumicash has high growth potential

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