Since the promulgation of the law of 16 October, 2002, which has liberalised the telecommunication domain, the DRC has five main mobile service providers: Vodacom, Airtel, Orange, Africell and Standard Télécom. Five more companies operate besides them, using cellular technology for reasons of short-range communication (walkie-talkies). The emergence of private companies in the field of mobile/cellular telecommunication has been favored by the decay of the public company which was licensed since the end of the 1970s.
The figures published by Target in 2017, documented on the basis of statements made to the ARPTC, report 28.8 million subscribers to Vodacom as leader with 33 percent of all users, 30 percent to Orange, 23 percent for Airtel and 13 percent for Africell. The relevance of this study could, however, be called into question, as regards the classification in order of importance of telecommunication companies.
The social capital of the telecommunications companies comes from foreign investors, with the exception of Vodacom Congo, part of whose social capital is Congolese. More and more, these companies have set up a messaging system, which allows for individual savings and money to be transferred across all corners of the country.
As mentioned in the previous chapter, cell phone companies have gained importance and visibility because of their impact on the state budget and especially in the employment domain. Meanwhile, the public service that operated fixed telephony, the Office Congolais des Postes et Télécommunications (Congolese Office of Posts and Telecommunications - OCPT) has not worked since the 1980s, especially because of the mismanagement of the dictatorial power of Mobutu. Even after Mobutu, this service has never been rehabilitated because of a lack of vision of the successive political regimes.