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

Executive summary

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 country's 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 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 later in 2014;
  • 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 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, Société Internet Congolaise (SIC), Sogetel, Liquid Telecom, O3b Networks, Smile Telecom, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, ZTE.

Henry Lancaster

Table of Contents

  • 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 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 – 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 – 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 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in the DRC – 1999 - 2004
  • Table 10 – Internet users and penetration rate in the DRC – 2005 - 2014
  • Table 11 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2014
  • Table 12 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in the DRC – 1999 - 2004
  • Table 13 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in the DRC – 2005 - 2014
  • Table 14 – Major mobile operators in the DRC by subscribers and launch date – March 2013
  • Table 15 – Vodacom Congo subscribers – 2002 - 2014
  • Table 16 – Vodacom Congo ARPU – 2003 - 2014
  • Table 17 – Vodacom Congo ARPU (ZAR) – 2012 - 2013
  • Table 18 – 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

Focus Report profile

Single-User PDF Licence: US$490.00EX GST
Member Discounts Apply
Purchase
License Information

Your Cart

Your Cart is empty

Purchase with Confidence

"This is all fascinating and your way of presenting the information is extraordinary."

Gary Sorkin, Pacific Communication Group

» More from our customers..

Special Offers

More than 4,000 customers from 140 countries utilise BuddeComm Research

Are you interested in BuddeComm's Consulting Services ?

Quick Search

News & Views

Have the latest telecommunications industry news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to Paul's FREE weekly News & Views.

Contact us

Email     pbc@budde.com.au

Copyright © 2014 Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. All trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective holders. Design by Arcaeda | Hosted by Ipera