mcel, Mozambique: New horizons

mcel joins forces with Ericsson to deliver enhanced mobile services in Mozambique.

To reinforce its position as market leader, mcel partners with Ericsson for the successful rollout of cutting-edge mobile broadband services in Mozambique. With approximately 20 million inhabitants and a low mobile penetration rate, Mozambique holds huge potential for growth. mcel is the state owned incumbent mobile network operator and in 1997 was the first service provider to establish operations in Mozambique. The operator is currently enjoying an ARPU of 8 USD per month, an impressive figure in the emerging African marketplace. Mozambique still has a relatively closed mobile services industry and mcel only has one competitor. However, through recent legislative approval Mozambique will soon see a third operator enter the arena.

Already facing a strong competitor and with a new player soon to enter the marketplace, mcel was keen to re-brand and strengthen its position as the market leader. Furthermore, as a network operator, mcel wished to develop its brand perception as the leader in innovation. mcel's main rival is a leading global telecommunications group, which has extensive internal experience available to its local operation and therefore can quickly launch new services into any market. With this in mind, mcel needed to compete effectively and ensure that the message of innovation was strongly reinforced by the customer experience.

The strategic program between Ericsson and mcel was established in 2005. The partnership began when Ericsson was awarded a major contract to take the Prime Integrator and supplier role for the Business Support Systems and Service Layer. This initial agreement also saw Ericsson replacing the existing infrastructure in the revenue management and value added services areas within the organization.

Since the initial agreement, the partnership has continued to develop in both scope and complexity and Ericsson was selected to take on the Prime Integrator role for mcel's new multimedia solutions. Brandon Clay, Senior Account Manager, Ericsson discusses the scale of the project: "Ericsson's competitors have limited experience in multi-vendor networks and simply did not have the product depth to be able to compete with our solutions. In addition mcel realized that Ericsson had an extensive multimedia portfolio and roadmap that supports growth across the various customer segments, as well as having the systems integration capability to support it. With our products, mcel was empowered to target all segments; the low-end subscribers with solutions such as Ringback Tone and top-end subscribers with Ericsson's Virtual Private Network offering. Acting as the Prime Integrator we have deployed a leading Service Layer environment, with enabler’s such as, Automatic Device Configuration (ADC), Push Email, USSD Platform and a WEB/WAP Portal. The integration of systems such as ADC will assist mcel to provision all the new services by increasing sales while reducing the workload on shops, staff and other infrastructure. On a network with such a range of integrated platforms evolution and scalability are also key factors. These have been addressed with B2B, under Ericsson's commercial model for Software Update Subscription, which supports end-to-end and progressive updates on the platforms. Further to this, we have assisted in the geographic expansion of the network. The scale of Ericsson's contribution to the enhancement and expansion of mcel’s network offering is very unique in a multi-vendor environment."

Ericsson has also enabled mcel to simplify its charging system and facilitated the introduction of spending and cost control for mobile broadband. The Ericsson Revenue Management solutions delivered were BSCS iX LHS, Charging System and Ericsson Multi Mediation. These have enabled mcel to launch many prepaid packages, and support top-up’s and refill across many channels, such as SMS and even interaccount transfers. The Ericsson scalability facilitated an expansion of mcel's distribution channels by enabling more vouchers, e-vouchers and a range of new packages. Coupled with Ericsson's Service Aware Charging in mcel’s Packet Core, this meant that mcel could launch 3G with spending control and cost control over enterprise, messaging and prepaid services. The unique Charging System enables a postpaid/prepaid Virtual Private Network for enterprises and even hybrid cash/airtime transfers between any customer, whether prepaid or postpaid. Working in the background the Charging System has supported mcel in the launch of real time 3G broadband packages for all customers.

Ericsson's involvement in the development of mcel's network has already delivered significant results, as Mahomed Mussa, Technical Director, mcel, Mozambique explains: "With this project we have made a huge investment in the revamping of our network. Working with Ericsson we have upgraded our billing system and implemented a new core network which will take us into the future with the possibility of a seamless migration to IP. We are now the only operator in Mozambique to provide mobile broadband services and streaming capabilities. As an operator, mcel can really leverage on this strong position to serve its customers. To ensure our leading position in the market we are planning to continue to work closely with Ericsson on an aggressive rollout in terms of infrastructure modernization and the upgrade of our systems at core level. We now have the widest portfolio of products in the market and the option to launch new services across the customer base. From 2007 to 2008 we witnessed an increase in revenue of 57 percent which is 27 percent above marketexpectations. mcel is now driving the market in terms of innovation and new services."

Tito Tezinde, Sales and Marketing Director, mcel, Mozambique discusses the impact that the project has had on mcel and on Mozambique: "One aspect of this project with Ericsson has been the arrival of mobile broadband in Mozambique. This has changed the way that people communicate, both within the country and with the rest of the world. These projects with Ericsson have resulted in a communications revolution in Mozambique; they have given many people in the region access to the internet for the first time. This has been achieved with great quality and at a minimal cost to the user. In many areas within Mozambique there is very little infrastructure in terms of roads or fixed-line communications. Our mobile broadband offering really empowers people, enabling business and communications in the country to thrive. Digital communication enables social development and delivers huge benefits. With this project we have delivered on our brand promise of being a technology leader and seen our customer base grow as a result. The arrival of platforms such as 3G in Mozambique has not only transformed the market, it will transform lives."


Customer: mcel, Mozambique

Customer Objective

  • Strengthen market leader position
  • Demonstrate credentials as a technology leader
  • To be perceived as the innovator in the market

Ericsson Solution

  • Business Support and Service Layer
  • Systems Integration
  • Rollout of 3G services
  • Revenue Management solutions

Customer Benefits

  • Increased revenue
  • Upgraded network with roadmap to IP
  • Comprehensive portfolio of products across customer segments

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Customer profile


With a 71 percent market share, mcel is Mozambique's largest mobile operator and the only company providing mobile broadband services in the country.

Established in 1997, mcel is now leading the market with more than 3.5 million subscribers in a country with relatively low mobile penetration. In 2009 the company announced a 58 percent increase in profit on previous years. The mobile services sector in the country is still developing with 99 percent of users subscribing on a prepaid basis. The operator plans to achieve complete geographical coverage in Mozambique by the end of 2009.