Democratic Republic of Congo - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Democratic Republic of Congo - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Broadband market set to grow with fibre and 3G/4G deployments

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in DRC's telecommunications market.

Subjects covered include:

Key statistics;
Market and industry overviews;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
Telecoms operators privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
Infrastructure development;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
Internet and broadband development and growth;
Mobile data services, including 3G/4G;
Mobile banking;
Average Revenue per User (ARPU).

Following a 30-year dictatorship between 1967 and 1997, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) has been through several 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. The global economic crisis reduced GDP growth to around 3% in 2009, but it returned to 7% in 2010-12 and is expected to remain stable at that level in the coming years.

As a result of the countrys past, the national telecom system is one of the least developed in the region. The national operator, SCPT theoretically has monopoly rights under 1970 legislation. However, 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 also caused frequency spectrum shortages, interference and compatibility problems. As a result, the mobile sector has consolidated and now has five major players.

Development of the DRCs internet and broadband market has been held back by the poorly developed national and international infrastructure. However, the country was finally connected to low-cost, high-quality international bandwidth through the WACS submarine fibre optic cable in 2013, and SCPT is rolling out a fibre optic national backbone network with support from China. An alternative terrestrial international fibre connection exists via neighbouring countries. Broadband access is provided by 3G mobile services and wireless networks using WiMAX and EV-DO technology. The country's first 4G (LTE) network is set to launch before the end of 2013.

Market highlights:

Connection to WACS international fibre optic cable finally completed;
National fibre backbone rollout continues;
Fifth mobile network thrives despite denial of interconnection;
3.5G mobile broadband services introduced;
First LTE network set to launch later in 2014 following government consultations with wireless operators.

Estimated market penetration rates in the DRC's telecoms sector end 2013
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 35%
Fixed | 0.1%
Internet | 2.3%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies covered in this report:

Vodacom Congo, Bharti Airtel (Zain, Celtel), Millicom (Tigo), Congo Chine Telecom (CCT, France Telecom Orange), Africell (Lintel), Société Congolais des Postes et des Télécommunications (SCPT, OCPT), Tatem Telecom, Gecamines, AfriTel (Starcel), Standard Telecom, Telecel International, Africanus.net, Interconnect (Vodanet), Microcom, Cielux Telecom, Global Broadband Solution (GBS), Afrinet, Congo Korea Telecom, Geolink, ICP Net, Orioncom, Paconet (Pan African Communication Network), RagaNet, Roffe Hi-Tech, Sattel, Societe Internet Congolaise (SIC), Sogetel, Liquid Telecom, O3b Networks, Smile Telecom, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, ZTE.


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Overview of the DRC's telecom market
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Overview
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.2.1 ARPTC
4.3 Competition in the telecom sector
4.4 Interconnection
4.5 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
5. Fixed-line operators in the DRC
5.1 Fixed-line statistics
5.2 SCPT (formerly OCPT)
5.2.1 National backbone
5.2.2 Privatisation
5.3 Tatem Telecom
5.4 Other operators
6. International infrastructure
6.1 Satellite
6.2 Submarine fibre
6.3 Terrestrial fibre
6.3.1 The Central African Backbone (CAB)
7. Broadband and Internet market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Internet user statistics
7.2 ISP market
7.2.1 Africanus.net
7.2.2 InterConnect, Vodanet
7.2.3 Microcom
7.2.4 Cielux Telecom
7.2.5 Global Broadband Solution (GBS)
7.2.6 Other ISPs
7.3 Internet cafes
7.4 Internet exchange points (IXP)
7.5 WiFi
8. Mobile communications
8.1 Overview of the DRC's mobile market
8.1.1 Mobile statistics
8.2 Regulatory issues
8.2.1 Licence conditions, fees and taxes
8.2.2 Quality of service (QoS)
8.3 Major mobile operators
8.3.1 Vodacom Congo
8.3.2 Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain, Celtel)
8.3.3 Tigo (Millicom, Oasis)
8.3.4 France Telecom (Orange, CCT)
8.3.5 Africell
8.4 Mobile data services
8.4.1 Advanced High Speed Packet Access (HSPA+)
8.5 Mobile banking
8.6 Third generation (3G)
8.7 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
9. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Democratic Republic of Congo 2013
Table 2 Fixed-line network statistics 2013
Table 3 Internet provider statistics 2013
Table 4 Internet and social media user statistics 2013
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2013
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Fixed telephone lines and teledensity in the DRC 1999 - 2014
Table 8 Internet users and penetration rate in the DRC 1999 - 2014
Table 9 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in the DRC 1999 - 2014
Table 10 Major mobile operators in the DRC by subscribers and launch date March 2013
Table 11 Vodacom Congo subscribers 2002 - 2013
Table 12 Vodacom Congo ARPU 2003 - 2013
Table 13 Tigo subscribers 2010 - 2013
Chart 1 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2002 - 2014

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