Viettel sees big opportunities in African markets and plans to continue expanding investment in the continent.
Earlier this month, Viettel’s Burundi operation Lumitel registered 600,000 subscribers a single month after starting operations.
Burundi is not the only African market where the company has seen good results. Nexttel, the company’s Cameroon operation, has celebrated its 2 millionth customer last month and became the third biggest mobile operator in the country after MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroon. In Tanzania, the company is rolling out infrastructure and expects to launch services later this year.
Meanwhile, under the name Movitel, Viettel is Mozambique’s largest mobile operator with four million subscribers, boasting an impressive 38 per cent market share. Movitel owns the most extensive telecom network in the country with 3,000 2G/3G base stations and 27,000 kilometres of optical fibre cable, connecting 80 per cent of the Mozambican population.
“We believe that we can achieve success in the African markets,” said Tao Duc Thang, CEO of Viettel Global, the global investment arm of Viettel.
As Thang explained, African countries have much potential for increasing the use of information technology and telecommunications. “The users’ density of telecommunications services, especially advanced services, is still low,” he said. “The application of ICT is also still low. And that presents a great opportunity for Viettel.”
For example, Viettel’s analysis showed that before the company set foot in Burundi, only 10 per cent of the country’s population of 10 million had access to telecommunication services.
“We decided to invest here to make the telecommunications market boom as we had done in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Mozambique,” he said.
One major advantage Viettel has when investing in African markets is the good political relationship between Vietnam and African countries. Viettel is warmly welcome wherever they go on the continent, according to Thang.
“The majority of the people and governments support and respect Vietnamese people. We are known as brave men who defeated two powerful empires for liberty and independence,” Thang said.
Viettel is currently present in 10 countries, four of which are in Africa. Besides the African continent, the company is also eyeing opportunities in other markets in order to implement its global growth strategy. Viettel aims to expand its market coverage to between 300 and 400 million people by 2017 and plans to invest a total VND47.5 trillion ($2.23 billion) in eight new foreign markets until then.