According to industry reports, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has seen a remarkable increase in mobile internet adoption over the past few years, reflecting broader trends across African nations. In 2013, the DRC had just 1.4 million mobile internet subscribers among its population of 75.6 million.

Looking ahead, the third quarter of 2023 data from the Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications of Congo (ARPTC) paints a promising picture, with the DRC now boasting a staggering 28.9 million mobile internet subscribers. This represents a significant 39.6% growth from the 20.7 million subscribers reported in the third quarter of 2020.

ARPTC has not specified the reasons behind this surge in mobile internet adoption between 2020 and 2023. However, it aligns with the overall increase in mobile phone usage, where subscribers rose from 39.9 million to 56.1 million during the same period.

This growth comes amid heightened demand for internet connectivity and the rise of new digital consumption patterns, particularly through social media platforms. Data traffic surged from 43.3 billion megabytes in the third quarter of 2020 to 182.2 billion megabytes by the third quarter of 2023. Average monthly consumption per subscriber also increased significantly, climbing from 751.95 megabytes to 2,028.97 megabytes.

While the DRC has made impressive strides in mobile internet adoption, with penetration rates rising from 1.9% in 2013 to 30.4% in 2023, it’s crucial to note that this figure still falls short of Africa’s average of 40% in 2022, as reported by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This underscores the urgent need for initiatives to ensure widespread access to mobile internet across the country, especially in the context of ongoing digital transformation efforts.

For instance, widespread access to mobile internet is expected to accelerate the Congolese government’s vision of leveraging digital technologies for integration, good governance, economic growth, and social progress. In line with this goal, the government established the Universal Services Development Fund (FDSU) in December 2022 to ensure all Congolese have access to basic telecom services and the internet.

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