According to various local media reports Oasis Telecom, which operates under the Tigo name, has become the third mobile operator in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to introduce 3.5G HSPA+ technology on a commercial basis. The launch event, which took place at the Piano Bar in the Palace Restaurant in Kinshasa, took place on 16 May, with CEO Stephane Teyssedre noting that the ‘4H+’ branding aligns the technology with both HSPA+ and 4G standards. In December 2010 the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) loosened its definition of 4G to include Long Term Evolution (LTE), WiMAX and HSPA+.
In July 2012 Airtel, Tigo, Vodacom and Africell all acquired 3G licences from the government, paying USD15 million apiece. Vodacom launched the country’s first 3G network late last year, in time for the 14th annual Francophonie Summit, which was held in the capital Kinshasa between 12 – 14 October. The first phase of Vodacom’s rollout was concentrated in the capital and Lubumbashi, and saw around 350 3G base stations installed by 31 December 2012. Meanwhile, Airtel inaugurated its own 3.5G network earlier this month.