IT service opportunities in Angola’s oil and gas sectorKussi-BERNARDO

In the next few years, robotic solutions will take over the energy industry and this will generate even more data, automatisation and productivity.


IT opportunities in Angola’s oil and gas sector

October 7, 2022

Kussi Bernardo, CEO of Multitel, talks to The Energy Year about opportunities local IT service companies see in servicing the oil and gas sector and the challenges and potential within the Angolan IT business. Multitel is an Angolan company that offers business solutions for telecommunications service needs as well as web services.

What opportunities do local IT service companies see in servicing the oil and gas sector?
One of our goals is to deliver solutions for the oil and gas sector by constructing IT and telecom infrastructure, preparing the digitalisation of some operational bases and office buildings, and creating conditions to safely and effectively transmit data.
Given the recent changes being carried out in the country in terms of local content, there is a need to send large amounts of information abroad and to build and operate in-country data centres to collect and transmit the huge amount of data being produced. It all offers room to grow.

What trends might drive the demand for IT services from oil companies in Angola?
Something that will be game-changing in the near future is the connection of the offshore oil production platforms to fibre optics. It will induce massive change in oil and gas operations in Angola. The refineries being built offer different opportunities for the provision of connectivity services, among other things.
There are already huge amounts of data being generated in this sector. In the next few years, robotic solutions will take over the energy industry and this will generate even more data, automatisation and productivity, as well as decreasing human burnout and stress. This is a sector we have experience in, as we are already working on automatisation projects in other industries. As this trend generates a higher quantity of sensitive data, it will also open up opportunities for our data centres. As customers become more mature in their needs, they will demand more assurance and security to keep the business running smoothly.

How are local companies adapting their offering to these opportunities?
We started by operating a lot on wireless, wimax and P2P, point-to-multipoint and point-to-point links. We have improved our ability to deliver on fibre networks so that we can capture more of the opportunities that the market is offering us.
There still are places that need to be upgraded to a fibre optic connection. We are trying to capture the available market by adjusting to the demand and needs of the customers, delivering services as they need them and trying to deliver them as fast as we can, so that the customer experience is always the primary balance.


What is your strategy to diversify Multitel’s offering and adapt to these changing conditions?
Over the last 22 years, we have delivered the standard services of a telecommunications company. But in terms of digitalisation, in 2020 we launched a new service with added values that we call Digitotal, which caters to the demand for cyber security, cloud solutions, smart business and even IT management.
At the end of the day, our clients want to be focusing more on their core business and we end up providing IT management services. This dynamic also helps them reduce their capex. This has resulted in a large increase in our income from sales during 2022, which has so far seen sales grow by 25%.
Digitotal offers a menu with cyber-security data centre solutions and cloud solutions. Our customers can allocate several services in our data centres, and we manage them. We provide these services with 24-hour surveillance and immediate responses. In Multitel, we look to build trusting relationships, where our customers want to stay with us for the long term. Personalised solutions are something that we also aim for.

How has your client portfolio composition changed in recent years?
For the past 20 years, Multitel’s focus was mainly B2B. But during the pandemic we saw the business of bringing internet to homes with remote working increasing a lot, so we started providing services to individual internet users, aside from servicing corporations.
In B2B, the banking sector has the major share of our client portfolio. We see a great opportunity in the mining sector, as their demand for reliable connections with powerful bandwidth is increasing. Mining companies, just like oil and gas companies, increasingly want to give solutions that require a lot of processing and real-time connections. We see a high demand for what we call unexpected connectivity, and for this need, a company with the flexibility and speed that we can provide is crucial. As we are able to mobilise logistics and workforces to remote areas in the country stress-free for our customers.

What are the main barriers you perceive in gaining more market share in the energy industry and how are you working to overcome them?
When it comes to growing in the energy market, the main barriers are certifications. So we are preparing the team to fulfil the requirements in order to get such certifications for the energy industry. We also keep investing in language capacitation as the language of oil and gas is English.
When there’s a need for training our customers on our solutions, we offer it in-house and we also place part of our team with our customers to address some issues. Connecting companies to the world is at the core of our business and we do this always looking at speed, the reliability of the network and a team that is close to the customer. If something doesn’t go according to plan, we assure a fast response to the client and analyse the root cause to prevent future occurrences, and all lessons learned are vital to maintain our journey in the industries which we have been serving for the last 23 years.

What are the current challenges and opportunities in the Angolan IT sector?
In our business, there’s still a lot of demand for e-capacity transmission in our existing customers, and to expand the capacity of the internet. The internet is still the champion of sales at this stage.
The market is quite centralised, there are only a handful of companies providing most of the internet connections. The competition in price is quite aggressive. There are home internet service providers going after corporate internet clients. I would say it’s never been as aggressive as it is now, and investments are starting to pop up.
We will see a lot of investments in telecom after some time since the cost structure for internet in Angola is still heavy. After the Covid-19 pandemic, the need, demand and importance of IT changed the minds of most decision-makers. For some of the companies, it would have been more important to buy a new car than to actually invest in connectivity. But this has changed now.
Unfortunately, margins for telephone companies that provide internet and connectivity services are going down, but there is still a lot of connectivity to be provided in Angola as a country. In such a big country, some regions are sparsely populated. This makes connectivity services unprofitable in certain places in most of current business models, so clearly there are opportunities to innovate and discover new streams of revenue country-wide.

How does Multitel approach new partnership opportunities?
Ever since we launched Digitotal, we’ve followed a philosophy which stems from an African saying: “nobody goes far alone.” If you want to go fast, you can go alone, but if you want to go far, you need to have a partner. We have to do things with partners, and when it comes to partnerships, we look at global partnerships in particular. If they have the technology, expertise and/or investment intention, and if we can come to a win-win solution, we collaborate with them to make the most of a great opportunity.

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