Burundian mobile operator Lumitel is extending its 4G service to the entire country.
Lumitel officially launched its 4G service in February 2016, with a focus on specific regions including Bujumbura, Gitega, Makamba, Muyinga, Ngozi and Rumonge. Now Lumitel plans to bring the network to rural communities with large populations and market niches that have been previously ignored.
To meet the potentially significant demand in rural areas Lumitel has deployed 3,300 kilometers of fiber optic cables and installed 112 4G antennas. This equipment reinforces the operator’s telecom network, which already consists of 615 2G antennas and 278 3G antennas.
Viettel Burundi (Lumitel), which is backed by the Vietnamese telecoms group Viettel, received its operating licence from the Burundian government in 2015 at a cost of over US$10 million.
Despite being the sixth Burundian mobile operator to launch Lumitel now has a 55% market share with over 2 million subscribers ahead of Econet, Onamob, U-com, VTEL Holdings and Smart.
In 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 this success 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