Kinshasa — Celtel Congo (DRC) the GSM network operator in the Democratic Republic of Congo ("DRC"), owned by MSI Cellular, has made the following announcement relating to expansion of network coverage. MSI Cellular is Africa's leading Pan-African telecoms company with Celtel branded GSM operations across the continent. Celtel Congo (DRC) is the market leader in mobile telecommunications services in the DRC, with 500,000 subscribers.
Celtel Congo (DRC) has achieved a significant landmark in the development of its network with the launch of Celtel services in the towns of Kambove and Kisangani. The towns are located in the provinces of Katanga and Orientale respectively and are over 1,278 km apart.
This achievement follows the launch of Celtel Congo's network in Beni and Butembo in North Kivu launched in February 2003, and Bunia in April 2003. Kisangani is the second major urban centre in the Orientale province to be integrated into Celtel Congo's network and underpins Celtel Congo's position as leading cellular operator in eastern region of the country.
Celtel Congo now has coverage in 30 towns and nine of the eleven provinces of Democratic Republic of Congo, delivering on its promise to the Congolese people to provide access to communications facilities to people in the North, South and East and West of the country. 19 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo now have access Celtel Congo's network.
As the capital of the Orientale province and a port town, situated on the banks of the Congo River, Kisangani has historically played a crucial role in supplying various agricultural products and other commodities to towns down-river. The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo has often been considered as the "breadbasket of the country", supplying other major towns along the Congo River, notably Kinshasa and Matadi. Celtel Congo's network, will help Kisangani to regain this crucial role. Other major towns on the Congo River Basin covered by Celtel Congo include Mbandaka, and Kinshasa and Matadi towards the delta. It was logical that Celtel Congo's primary vocation telecommunication network should trace the majestic Congo River, since the River is the predominant means of transportation across the country.
According to Rob Gelderloos, Managing Director of Celtel Congo: "Providing the best possible telecommunications network to all the inhabitants of the Democratic Republic of Congo will have a catalyst effect on the economic development as well as contributing in a significant manner to the re-unification of the country and the re-integration of the Congolese people."
Celtel Congo is committed to investing in expanding a quality network, which complies with local legislation. Furthermore, Celtel Congo endeavours to create a spirit of development and to foster local mobility by skills transfer, ensuring a constant flow of information and knowledge. The launch of Celtel Congo in Kisangani demonstrates, that Celtel is taking the lead in telecommunications in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and reflects its slogan "Africa my Continent, Congo my Country, Celtel my Network".
Celtel Congo (DRC) was launched in December 2000 and has 500,000 subscribers. Celtel Congo is part of a broader group of Celtel mobile networks in Africa, owned by MSI Cellular, which gives it important links with the larger African community.
MSI Cellular has been licensed by 12 Governments in Africa, representing more than one-third of the population of the African continent, to operate GSM cellular networks, which are mainly branded "Celtel". MSI has operations in Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, the Republic of Congo ("Congo Brazzaville"), Gabon, Sierra Leone, Chad, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo ("Congo Kinshasa"), Sudan and Niger. In Tanzania, MSI has a 35% equity stake and management control of Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL). TTCL launched the Celtel Tanzania cellular network as an independent subsidiary company. In Egypt, MSI is a founding shareholder and minority partner in Vodafone Egypt.
Shareholders in MSI include:
- CDC Capital Partners, a leading risk capital investor in emerging markets, with over US$1.5 billion invested in some 50 emerging countries. - IFC (International Finance Corporation) the private sector arm of the World Bank and the largest source of private equity for developing countries.
- AIG Infrastructure Fund, sponsored by AIG and managed by EMP, the largest private equity infrastructure manager in emerging markets with nearly US$5 billion under management.
- Zephyr Asset Management, the US based emerging market fund.
- Citigroup, the global financial services group.
- Bessemer Venture Partners, the investment arm of one of the oldest funds in the USA.
- Palio, the Swiss technology investment company.
- FMO, the Dutch development institution
- DEG, the German development institution.
- Old Mutual Asset Management in South Africa
- ALBA (Spain)
- Fonditel (Spain: Telefonica Pension Fund)
- Communications Venture Partners (CVP: USA)
- AMB (South Africa)
- ING (Netherlands)
Visit MSI Cellular's website on www.msi-cellular.com.