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Democratic Republic of Congo - Telecoms, Mobile & Broadband

Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

The Democratic Republic of Congo - Telecoms, Mobile & Broadband report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.

Executive summary

Following a 30-year dictatorship between 1967 and 1997, the DRC (formerly Zaire) has been through two wars and is still seeing violent conflicts in the eastern part of the country. The economy of this third largest country in Africa relies heavily on mining. However, much economic activity occurs in the informal sector and is not reflected in GDP data. An uncertain legal framework, corruption, and a lack of transparency in government policy are continuing long-term problems. The country has been hit hard by the global economic crisis in 2008 and 2009.

As a result of the political instability since the mid-1990s, the national telecom system is one of the least developed in the region. Rural areas, where almost 70% of the population resides, are virtually devoid of telephone or Internet service. The national operator, OCPT theoretically has a monopoly on the sector under 1970 legislation, but it has been unable to provide a modern telecom network and unsuccessful in finding major investors for privatisation. Recognising the need for telecommunications infrastructure, the government is only loosely regulating the sector.

Mobile networks have taken over as the providers of basic telecom services. By 2001, some 16 private operators had been granted mobile telephony licences and the subscriber base was growing at triple digit rates per year. However, the proliferation of networks has also caused interference and compatibility problems, and there is limited available spectrum due to poor spectrum management. As a result, the mobile sector has consolidated and now has four major players: Vodacom Congo, Zain DRC, Millicom (Tigo) and Congo Chine Telecom (CCT) in which OCPT holds 49%. The vast majority of subscribers are on prepaid plans.

Development of the Internet market has been held back by the poorly developed national and international infrastructure. The mobile operators are beginning to play a significant role in this sector as well, following the launch of mobile data services. However, no 3G mobile systems have yet been launched apart from a CDMA-EV-DO system in Kinshasa, which means that services offering true broadband speed are currently only available through relatively small wireless networks using other technologies, mainly WiMAX.

With support from China, OCPT is now finally rolling out a fibre optic national backbone that will ultimately also provide access to fibre optic submarine cables for low-cost, high-quality international bandwidth.

Key highlights:

Country hit hard by global economic crisis;
Comparison with other countries in the region in terms of GDP, mobile, fixed and Internet market penetration;
2008/09 financial results of mobile market leaders;
Profiles of major players in all market sectors;
WiMAX is the predominant broadband access technology;
OCPT begins national fibre backbone rollout and rehabilitation of fixed-line network.Vodacom Congo mobile data pricing - 2009
Data includedMonthly cost (US$)Excess charge /MB (US$)
(Source: BuddeComm based on company data)

  • Executive summary
    • Table Vodacom Congo mobile data pricing - 2009
  • Key statistics
    • Table Country statistics Democratic Republic of Congo - 2010
    • Table Fixed-line network statistics - 2010
    • Table Internet provider statistics - 2010
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2010
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2010
    • Table National telecommunications authority
    • Country overview
    • Regional benchmarking
      • Table GDP per capita in the DRC and other countries in the region - 2009
      • Table Mobile penetration in the DRC and other countries in the region - March 2009
      • Table Internet user penetration in the DRC and other countries in the region - 2008
      • Table Fixed-line penetration in the DRC and other countries in the region - 2008
  • Telecommunications market
    • Overview of the DRC's telecom market
  • Regulatory environment
    • Overview
    • Regulatory authority
      • ARPTC
    • Competition in the telecom sector
    • Interconnection
    • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • Fixed-line operators in the DRC
    • Fixed-line statistics
      • Table Fixed telephone lines and teledensity - 1995 - 2010
    • Office Congolais des Postes et des Télécommunications
      • National backbone
      • International infrastructure
      • Privatisation
    • Tatem Telecom
    • Other operators
  • Broadband and Internet market
    • Overview
      • Internet user statistics
        • Table Internet users and penetration rate - 1996 - 2010
    • ISP market
      • InterConnect, Vodanet
        • Table Vodanet pricing - shared bandwidth - 2009
      • Microcom
      • Cielux Telecom
      • Global Broadband Solution (GBS)
      • Other ISPs
    • Internet cafes
  • Mobile communications
    • Overview of the DRC's mobile market
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1996; 1998 - 2010
        • Table Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - March 2009
    • Regulatory issues
      • GSM licence conditions, fees and taxes
    • Major mobile operators
      • Vodacom Congo
        • Table Vodacom Congo subscribers - 2002 - 2009
        • Table Vodacom Congo ARPU - 2003 - 2009
      • Zain DRC (formerly Celtel)
        • Table Zain DRC ARPU - 2002 - 2009
      • Tigo (Millicom)
      • CCT
    • Mobile data services
      • Overview
        • Table Vodacom Congo mobile data pricing - 2009
      • Mobile banking

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