Orange In The Data Game: Better Late Than Never


BMI View: Mobile operator Orange's deal with the SCPT to gain access to international bandwidth should vastly improve its ability to compete in the DRC's crowded mobile market. Although Orange's nearly year-long wait for this agreement highlights the challenging business environment in the DRC, we remain bullish on the country's mobile market owing to its large population and low penetration rate.

Mobile operator Orange has signed a deal with telecoms regulator Société Congolaise des Postes et Télécommunications (SCPT) to gain access to the national fibre backbone and international bandwidth capacity through the WACS submarine cable landing station in Muanda. This came nearly a year after Vodacom's agreement with the SCPT in July 2013, followed by Airtel in August and Tigo in September 2013. The DRC's minister of communications confirmed that Orange was the last operator to gain access to the national fibre network, due to the government's unexplained decision to suspend all new contracts during late 2013 and early 2014.

Industry stakeholders in the DRC have previously questioned the SPCT's ability to manage the submarine landing station in Muanda and the national fibre backbone, in particular highlighting its limited technical expertise in the field and multiple delays in launching connectivity to WACS. The suspension of new wholesale capacity contracts therefore ignited speculation on whether the landing station was actually functional. The regulator has used the new agreement with Orange to dispel this rumour.

Orange Lags Behind
Mobile Subscriptions By Operator ('000), 2012-2014

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Geography: Congo

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