In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the demand for telecom services in the DRC has been rising continuously since 2020. As a result, operators are upping investments to meet the demand and become more competitive.
According to industry reports, Africell SA will need more frequency spectrum to improve its network coverage in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Peter Pham, a member of Africell SA’s board of directors, raised the issue during a meeting with Augustin Kibassa Maliba, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, on the 40th session of the Assembly of Parties of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO).
The move comes eight months after the telecom operator presented its investment plans to Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde Kyenge.
In the plan, the operator intends to double the size of its network in the country, primarily in the east.
According to Pham, the growth project is needed, given the increasing competition in the Congolese telecom sector driven primarily by the growing demand for telecom services brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since 2021, its competitors, Vodacom and Orange, have invested heavily in their networks, including the rollout of a fibre-optic network, service extension in underserved areas, and network upgrades from 2G to 3G.
In June, Airtel Africa acquired an additional US$42 million spectrum.
By expanding its network, Africell wants to reach more people, strengthening its market positioning and increasing revenues.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, Airtel Africa was the fourth operator in the Congolese market with 9.73 per cent of the market share. However, it was behind Orange, Airtel, and Vodacom, which controlled 27.86 per cent, 28.55 per cent, and 33.86 per cent of the market, respectively.
In June 2021, Africell secured an additional US$105 million syndicated loan to finance its African strategy while launching commercial operations in Angola.