Airtel DRC, the largest player in the Congolese mobile market in terms of subscribers, is poised to launch its long-awaited 3.5G HSPA+ network within a matter of days, according to Agence Ecofin. The news story quotes the cellco’s head of public relations, Dandy Yela, although no coverage details have been reported. In July 2012 Airtel, alongside Oasis Telecom (Tigo), Vodacom Congo and Africell, acquired 3G licences from the government, paying USD15 million apiece. Airtel’s chief rival Vodacom Congo launched the country’s first 3G network late last year, in time for the 14th annual Francophonie Summit, which was held in Kinshasa between 12 – 14 October. The first phase of Vodacom’s rollout was concentrated in capital city Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, and saw around 350 3G base stations installed by 31 December 2012.
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