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Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics- Democratic Republic of Congo

Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics- Democratic Republic of Congo

Africell's anticipated 3G launch may shake up mobile internet pricing

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) went through several wars and considerable social upheaval. There remain violent conflicts in the eastern part of the country, exacerbated by considerable corruption within the government and police which make it difficult for the government to extend its control effectively in these regions. The economy is heavily dependent on revenue from the mining sector though much economic activity occurs informally 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, increasing to 8.5% in 2013 and an anticipated 8.7% for 2014.It is expected to remain stable at that level for the next two to three years, largely supported by mining.

Largely due to the country's troubled history, the national telecom system remains 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 network operators 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 annually. However, the proliferation of networks also caused frequency spectrum shortages, interference and compatibility problems. As a result, the mobile sector has since consolidated and now has five major players.

Development of the DRC's 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 commercial LTE networks are imminent.

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;
Airtel Congo and MTN Congo fined for mobile network quality and availability failures;
Africell takes Vodacom, Tigo and Airtel to court over their refusal to interconnect networks;
Yozma Timeturns pays initial licence fee instalment, proposes mobile services launch;
Vodacom reaches dispute settlement with its partner CWN, paving the way for continued investment in the country;
Airtel increases investment undertaking for DRC to $550 million, partners with BGFIBank Group to make its Airtel Money service available to bank customers.
Regulator criticised by ITU for setting mobile pricing.

Estimated market penetration rates in the DRC's telecoms sector end-2014
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 44%
Fixed | 0.1%
Internet | 2.5%
(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,, 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, Société 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
7.2.2 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
7.6 Mobile broadband
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 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)
8.8 Mobile satellite services
9. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Democratic Republic of Congo 2014 (e)
Table 2 Fixed-line network statistics 2014 (e)
Table 3 Internet provider statistics 2014
Table 4 Internet and social media user statistics 2014 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2014 (e)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Historic - Fixed telephone lines and teledensity in the DRC 1999 - 2004
Table 8 Fixed telephone lines and teledensity in the DRC 2005 - 2014
Table 9 International bandwidth 2005 - 2013
Table 10 Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in the DRC 1999 - 2004
Table 11 Internet users and penetration rate in the DRC 2005 - 2014
Table 12 Fixed-line broadband subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 13 Active mobile broadband subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 14 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in the DRC 1999 - 2004
Table 15 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in the DRC 2005 - 2014
Table 16 Major mobile operators in the DRC by subscribers and launch date March 2013
Table 17 Vodacom Congo subscribers 2002 - 2014
Table 18 Vodacom Congo ARPU 2003 - 2014
Table 19 Vodacom Congo ARPU (ZAR) 2012 - 2013
Table 20 Tigo subscribers 2010 - 2014
Chart 1 Internet users and penetration rate in the DRC 2005 2014
Chart 2 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 - 2014

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