Bloomberg reports that African wireless group MTN is in negotiations to acquire a mobile licence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), possibly by buying a locally owned licensee. Citing Christian Katende, Vice President of the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Body, the report speculates that the firm in question is Supercell, a national licensee which operates a tiny wireless network in the eastern North Kivu province.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, DRC is home to six wireless network operators: Vodacom Congo, Zain DRC, Oasis Telecom (Tigo), Congo Chine Telecom (CCT), Supercell and HITS Telecom. Supercell, which is reported to have had links in the past with Rwandacell (now MTN Rwanda), was originally granted a regional licence for the east of the country. The concession was later upgraded to cover the whole country, but the company failed to negotiate interconnection agreements with the country’s other cellcos, with the result that its network today has extremely limited reach.