The cost of the Internet in Angola


It is nothing new to anyone that internet prices in the country are sky-high. In recent months, the unannounced change in tariffs of some operators has led consumers to a justified nervous breakdown. The reasons behind these price fluctuations are not purely commercial. The access of internet providers to the signal source and the fat view of regulation to existing monopolies explain much of the problem.

Hélio Pereira

When there is a lot of noise and confusion you need to stop for a while, take a deep breath and understand what is really going on. The tip is also valid for the problem of internet prices and for the apparently unfair and unjustified increases in prices of mobile services that have caused controversy in recent times and a hole in the pockets of consumers.

Contrary to what would be expected, for national operators, high prices, more than an opportunity, are a headache. The purchasing power in Angola is known. As well as the sector's capacity to expand based on that same purchasing power. In our country, the internet seems to be increasingly a luxury item. And the country is not for that.

The causes are several and they all give us a low quality internet at unstable and exorbitant prices. One is that, in Angola, there is no such thing as sharing of technological infrastructure. The concept is simple: instead of building and investing alone in their own digital network, as is the case in our country, operators come together in consortia to build and interconnect a wide digital web, where they all put their share to bring internet from quality on all sides. In this way, they lower investment costs, lower consumer prices and gain the national digital network, which becomes wider and more robust.

In Angola, the law requires operators to share the infrastructure, but in practice it is dead law. Presidential Decree No. 16 of November 2017 is imperative in this regard, but whoever should regulate the sector, impose fines for non-compliance, shake the system, simply does not do so.

This “digital selfishness” of national telecommunications companies is, however, only the tip of the iceberg. Because the system is upside down from the base. In Angola, the internet arrives via underwater fiber optic cables SACS and WACS. Both are managed by a single company, Angola Cables, and this is, for national operators (those that also do not share infrastructure), a point of work.

The word is "monopoly". And with monopolies and a lack of hard hand by the regulatory agents, the sector remains somewhat or as to the god-god, eliminating the competition factor that stimulates the increase of quality and the reduction of prices. The National Broadband Strategy, which sometimes echoes around, is not clear. Is there, in fact? It is part of that macro plan to recover infrastructure and that wants to make Angola a hub digital? Or is it something else?

At the same time, operators complain, there is the question of the tax burden. With the reform of the Industrial Tax Code last July, the telecommunications sector started to be taxed 35%. In addition, there is the dollar in its diabolical dance. Digital services are indexed to this currency. It is well known that companies in the sector need to import technology, not only products but also services. As such, the constant devaluation of the currency and inflation, which corrodes any good operating results of companies.

Article written by Hélio Pereira, published in MenosFios with authorization from the author's press office.


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