What We’re Up To In the Democratic Republic of Congo
10 September 2021

What We’re Up To In the Democratic Republic of Congo

10 September 2021

As a global connectivity service provider, Africa is a key focus for Telecom26 and we provide connectivity - including IoT networks - across the continent with customers and partners in almost every country.

We have previously looked at how our Global SIM cards are providing IoT connectivity to digital healthcare programmes being rolled out by Big Pharma customers, Healthcare diagnostic partners and NGOs, including SystemOne.

These programmes help diagnose and treat infectious diseases such as Ebola, HIV, TB and, most recently, COVID-19 in South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania.

This week we take a look at the Democratic Republic of Congo aka Congo-Kinshasa and not to be confused with its neighbour, The Republic of the Congo, or Congo-Brazzaville.

About DRC

Located on the west of the continent with a small coastline, the DRC is the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa with a surface area equivalent to the whole of Western Europe - but with less than 3,000km of paved roads, which is around 1% of the total roads found in the UK.

Despite the country’s extensive natural resources including gold, copper, arable land and rainforest, its turbulent past and present has resulted in the third largest population of poor globally with one in six of 92 million residents living in extreme poverty (on less than $1.90 a day). 

When most IT techies think of the DRC, they think of cobalt  - essential for producing the batteries in electric cars, computers, and cell phones - and the industry’s controversial mining industry detailed here by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Telecom Infrastructure in the DRC

The development of the country’s internet and broadband market has been hampered by its poor national and international infrastructure. However, recently, investment has been coming into the country from a number of different African and international operators. A landing station is being built for Google’s “Equiano” subsea cable which connects Africa with Europe, fibre has been lit between the DRC to Angola and more fibre is coming inland.

The country boasts a multitude of mobile, fixed and satellite operators including

Vodacom Congo, Bharti Airtel, Millicom, Congo Chine Telecom (CCT, Orange Congo), and Africell. You can see a longer list here.

DRC, Healthcare and Connectivity

This article in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper writes that the DRC “had officially recorded 50,529 cases and 1,045 Covid-related deaths by 4 August (2021)”. However, the country continues to brace itself against new waves as the population are somewhat wary of vaccines.

Of course, the country has been waging much longer battles against other lethal infectious diseases. An Ebola outbreak in the eastern DRC in 2018 killed more than 2,200 people.

Key to the success of digital healthcare programmes in the DRC is reliable connectivity; speed of diagnosis and treatment is often the difference between life and death.

The traditional route is to buy local SIMs to provide device connectivity. Unfortunately, this limits users to one MNO - and adds juggling multiple SIMs across devices to find a local network to a long list of headaches, especially in country border areas.

Telecom26 is a global connectivity service provider and our IoT global SIM cards and our IoT connectivity solutions were developed with the specific goal of improving connectivity in remote areas where coverage can be patchy.

Our IoT global SIM cards enable devices to automatically access and switch between multiple networks both in-country and across borders thus removing the need to worry about the coverage of a single MNO, or the existence of roaming alliances.

If you have any questions about telecoms in DRC, or need help with connectivity - including IoT Connectivity - there, or in any other country in Africa or around the world then please Get In Touch to learn more about Telecom26’s work as a global connectivity service provider.  

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