Congolese mobile operator Libertis Télécom yesterday relaunched as MTN Congo, following its acquisition by the South African group of the same name in December last year. The MTN name replaces all previous Libertis branding on products, at points of sale, including public phones, and in advertising and other materials, the company said in a statement. MTN Congo plans to invest XAF10 billion (USD19 million) in infrastructure in its 2006 financial year, including the construction of a new core network between Brazzaville and Pointe Noir, which it says will significantly increase national coverage and reduce congestion. It hopes to install more than 60 new base stations by December 2006. It will also widen and strengthen its network of distributors and aims to install a call centre in every city.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Libertis was founded in 2000 and uses several technology platforms – fixed telephone exchanges, radio access and VSATs – to deliver GSM services across the country. It launched commercially in May 2000 and had signed up 30,000 users at the end of its first year of operations. Egypt’s Orascom Telecom sold its 65% stake in Libertis to MTN for USD66.6 million in cash in December 2005 and the South African group has since upped its holding to 100%. By the end of 2005 it was the Congo’s second largest wireless operator with a 36% share of subscribers.