October 31 2011: Indian telecom leader Bharti Airtel has become the first service provider to bring 3G networks to Central Africa. Last week it launched HSPA 3 G services in Congo – with theoretical downlink speeds of up to 21Mbps.
"The issuance of the licence is a significant move by the Congolese Government and a milestone in a region that is set to embrace first world mobile platforms.” said Tiemoko Coulibaly, CEO Airtel Africa, Francophone, “"3G technology will give our customers the opportunity to interact with data in a different way. Airtel doesn't see 3G as a product but a platform that enables the community expand its social and commercial horizons, alongside the rest of the world.”
Airtel’s technology partner in this rollout is Nokia Siemens Network. Airtel has 5 million subscribers in the Congo ( end 2010 numbers).
In 2010 Airtel acquired the Kuwait-based Zain Telecom's African business for $10.70 billion . It operates in 16 African countries:Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.