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Democratic Republic of Congo - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

May 2020 | 114 pages | ID: DC63B0F764AEN
BuddeComm

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DRC to secure access to Google’s Equiano submarine cable

The Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) was under a 30-year dictatorship between 1967 and 1997. Since then the country has continued to suffer from regional wars among rival groups, resulting in considerable social upheaval. There remain violent conflicts in the eastern part of the country, exacerbated by considerable corruption within the government as well as by ethnic tensions resulting from disputes among and within bordering countries which have spilled over in the DRC itself. These circumstances have made it difficult for the government to extend its control in these regions.

Largely due to the country’s troubled history, the national telecom system remains one of the least developed in the region. The government can only loosely regulate the sector, and since the national telco SCPT has little capital to invest so much of the investment in infrastructure is from donor countries or from the efforts of foreign (particularly Chinese) companies and banks. Efforts have been made to improve regulating the telecom sector, with a revised Telecommunications Act adopted in May 2018, though the practical implementation of the Act’s measures remains questionable.

Given the limited and decrepit condition of fixed-line infrastructure the mobile network operators have become the principal providers of basic telecom services. More than a dozen new licenses were issued in the early years of the century, but many of the licenses failed to launch services and the proliferation of networks, as well as the poor monitoring of spectrum assets, caused frequent problems with spectrum shortages, interference and compatibility issues. As a result, the mobile sector entered a period of consolidation, including the acquisition of Tigo Congo by Orange Congo in April 2016, which greatly increased the latter’s market share.

The 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 international bandwidth through the WACS submarine fibre optic cable in 2013, while SCPT is rolling out a fibre optic national backbone network with support from China. Breakages in the WACS cable have exposed the vulnerability of international bandwidth, which is still limited. To address this, Liquid Telecom in early 2020 was licensed to build and manage the landing station for the Equiano submarine cable. This development will also provide competition in the broadband access market, hitherto a monopoly held by SCPT. In turn, the additional capacity, stimulated by competition in pricing, should contribute to a reduction in internet pricing for both fixed and mobile internet services.

The country’s first commercial LTE networks were launched, albeit geographically limited, in May 2018 soon after LTE licenses were issued. Mobile operators are keen to develop mobile data services, capitalising on the growth of smartphones usage.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:
  • Orange Money develops its service in partnership with Flash International;
  • Vodacom DRC management to be transferred to Vodacom South Africa under a reorganisation plan;
  • Liquid Telecom licensed to build the Equiano cable landing station;
  • Helios Towers completes major tower infrastructure upgrade;
  • Incumbent telco SCPT seeking to quadruple fibre capacity from landing station to Kinshasa, addressing a key bottleneck;
  • Fibre link between Brazzaville and Kinshasa completed;
  • Report update includes operator data to Q4 2019, regulator’s market data to September 2019, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments
Companies mentioned in this report:

Vodacom Congo, Bharti Airtel (Zain, Celtel), Millicom (Tigo), Congo Chine Telecom (CCT, Orange Congo), Africell (Lintel), Soci?t? Congolais des Postes et des T?l?communications (SCPT), 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, Soci?t? Internet Congolaise (SIC), Sogetel, Liquid Telecom, O3b Networks, Smile Telecom, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, ZTE.
1 KEY STATISTICS

2 REGIONAL MARKET COMPARISON

2.1 TMI vs GDP
2.2 Mobile and mobile broadband
2.3 Fixed and mobile broadband

3 COUNTRY OVERVIEW

4 COVID-19 AND ITS IMPACT ON THE TELECOM SECTOR

4.1 Economic considerations and responses
4.2 Mobile devices
4.3 Subscribers
4.4 Infrastructure

5 TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET

5.1 Historical overview

6 REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT

6.1 Historical overview
6.2 Regulatory authority
6.3 Fixed-line developments
6.4 Mobile network developments

7 MOBILE MARKET

7.1 Market analysis
7.2 Mobile statistics
7.3 Mobile data
7.4 Mobile broadband
7.5 Mobile infrastructure
7.6 Major mobile operators
7.7 Mobile content and applications

8 FIXED-LINE BROADBAND MARKET

8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
8.2 Broadband statistics
8.3 ISP market
8.4 Internet exchange points (IXP)
8.5 Internet satellite

9 FIXED NETWORK OPERATORS

9.1 SCPT (formerly OCPT)

10 TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE

10.1 Overview of the national telecom network
10.2 National backbone
10.3 Tatem Telecom
10.4 Other operators
10.5 International infrastructure

11 APPENDIX HISTORIC DATA

12 GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS

13 RELATED REPORTS

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1 Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities - DRC 2020 (e)
Table 2 Development of telecom sector revenue 2010 2017
Table 3 Change in the number of prepaid and contract mobile subscribers 2015 2019
Table 4 Growth in the number of mobile subscribers and penetration rate in the DRC 2010 2025
Table 5 Major mobile operator launch dates in the DRC
Table 6 Increase in mobile market revenue 2010 2019
Table 7 Change in the share of mobile market revenue share by service 2014 2019
Table 8 Development of mobile ARPU 2014 2019
Table 9 Change in mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2014 2019
Table 10 Change in the number of SMS sent 2009 2019
Table 11 Growth in the number of active mobile broadband subscribers 2012 2025
Table 12 Growth in mobile data traffic 2016 2019
Table 13 Growth in average mobile data traffic per subscriber 2017 2019
Table 14 Change in the share of market data traffic by operator 2017 2019
Table 15 Growth in the number of Vodacom Congo's mobile subscribers 2010 2019
Table 16 Growth in the number of Vodacom Congo's active data subscribers 2013 2019
Table 17 Change in Vodacom Congo's mobile ARPU ($) 2010 2019
Table 18 Change in Vodacom Congo's mobile ARPU (ZAR) 2012 2019
Table 19 Development of Vodacom Congo's mobile revenue 2016 2020
Table 20 Change in the number of Airtel Congo's mobile subscribers 2014 2019
Table 21 Growth in the number of Orange DRC's mobile subscribers 2012 2019
Table 22 Increase in Orange DRC's revenue 2013 2019
Table 23 Growth in the number of Africell's mobile subscribers 2014 2019
Table 24 Change in the number of Vodacom's M-Pesa subscribers 2017 2019
Table 25 Change in the number of m-money subscribers and penetration 2015 2019
Table 26 Growth in m-money revenue 2016 2019
Table 27 Growth in the number of fixed-line broadband subscribers 2013 2025
Table 28 International bandwidth 2007 2018
Table 29 International bandwidth per user 2007 2017
Table 30 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 1999 2009
Table 31 Historic - Mobile market revenue 2003 2009
Table 32 Historic - Vodacom Congo's subscribers 2002 2009
Table 33 Historic - Vodacom Congo ARPU 2003 2009
Table 34 Historic - Tigo subscribers 2010 2015
Table 35 Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in the DRC 1999 2015
Table 36 Historic - Fixed telephone lines and teledensity in the DRC 1999 2009
Chart 1 Overall Africa view - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita
Chart 2 Central Africa - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita
Chart 3 Africa Bottom-tier Telecoms Maturity Index (Market Emergents)
Chart 4 Central Africa Telecoms Maturity Index by country 2018
Chart 5 Central Africa mobile subscriber penetration versus mobile broadband penetration
Chart 6 Central Africa fixed and mobile penetration rates
Chart 7 Change in the number of prepaid and contract mobile subscribers 2015 2019
Chart 8 Growth in the number of mobile subscribers and penetration rate in the DRC 2010 2025
Chart 9 Increase in mobile market revenue 2010 2019
Chart 10 Change in the share of mobile market revenue share by service 2014 2019
Chart 11 Development of mobile ARPU 2014 2019
Chart 12 Change in mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2014 2019
Chart 13 Growth in the number of active mobile broadband subscribers 2012 2025
Chart 14 Growth in the number of active mobile broadband subscribers 2012 2025
Chart 15 Growth in the number of Vodacom Congo's mobile subscribers 2010 2019
Chart 16 Growth in the number of Vodacom Congo's active data subscribers 2013 2019
Chart 17 Development of Vodacom Congo's mobile revenue 2016 2020
Chart 18 Change in the number of Airtel Congo's mobile subscribers 2014 2019
Chart 19 Growth in the number of Orange DRC's mobile subscribers 2012 2019
Chart 20 Increase in Orange DRC's revenue 2013 2019
Chart 21 Growth in the number of Africell's mobile subscribers 2014 2019
Chart 22 Change in the number of m-money subscribers and penetration 2015 2019
Exhibit 1 Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment
Exhibit 2 Central Africa - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
Exhibit 3 2Africa submarine cable
Exhibit 4 2Africa landing stations


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