A positive outlook for mobile access in the Republic of Congo
Thierry Moungalla, the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications of the Republic of Congo recently gave an interview to the magazine Réseau Télécom. His answers give insight to the state of mobile adoption in Congo-Brazzaville.
- VMK tablets and smartphones are produced by a Congolese (made in China) to keep prices lower than competitors.
- Government action is needed to keep taxes fair for business to promote the democratization of mobile equipment.
- A mobile phone can be had for less than 10,000 CFA (20 USD).
- Mobile penetration is at 98%, but coverage is less.
- A universal service fund (to be implemented in the future) will deliver mobile coverage to more remote areas of the country.
- Optical fibre is the main backbone, with WiMAX and satellite commonly used as well. A goal is to combine the number of technologies (ie. not rely solely on fibre).
- The cost of internet access varies widely (depending on competition, etc.) but unlimited 3G can be had for 30,000 FCFA per month (60 USD).
- ICT is the third-largest contributor (15 billion CFA per annum) to the state budget after oil and wood.
- The main ICT project in the county is the establishment of science parks and incubators through the Central African Backbone project. The initiative, supported by the World Bank, will encourage local content production and will attract larger companies to the country.
Source: Translated from interview by Beaugas-Orain Djoyum in Geneva for the magazine Réseau Télécom published on Agence Ecofin.