Internet providers in the DRC

Here are 12 internet providers in the DRC. There may be others.

Airtel
Vodacom
Orange
Liquid Intelligent Technologies
Orioncom
Global Broadband Solutions
Microcom
Standard Telecom
Konnect
  1. Airtel (LTE/3G/2G – cell based). Expensive for an office or home but fast (i.e. you can stream Netflix no problem but not 4K) if not shared. Seems like the fastest with Vodacom most of the time. Around 100 USD per month with around 200 GB – may vary a little.
  2. Vodacom (LTE/3G/2G – cell based). Expensive for an office or home but fast (i.e. you can stream Netflix no problem but not 4K) if not shared. Seems like the fastest with Airtel most of the time. Around 100 USD per month with around 200 GB – may vary.
  3. Africell (LTE/3G/2G – cell based). Expensive for an office or home but fast if not shared – not much coverage outside Kinshasa.
  4. Orange (LTE/3G/2G – cell based). Expensive for an office or home but fast (i.e. you can stream Netflix no problem but not 4K) if not shared. Pretty good for home use with a box, good price. Around 100 USD per month with around 200 GB – may vary.
  5. DHI (VSAT based). Never tried but pretty low cost – average speeds.
  6. Global Broadband Solutions (GBS) (Fiber and VSAT based). Premium connection, supposedly very fast but at a cost.
  7. Orioncom (VSAT and fiber based). Never tried but good reputation (most of the time).
  8. Konnect (VSAT based). Good price, speed varies a lot, some drop outs.
  9. Liquid Intelligent Technologies (Fiber based) in partnership with Facebook (Article). New ISP but underwhelmed by speed and service.
  10. Standard Telecom (Fiber based). Old ISP but many issues with reliability.
  11. United Fiber (Fiber based). New ISP and I have never tried them.
  12. Microcom (VSAT based). Never tried – old ISP with loyal customer base.

These reviews are very superficial. Some users or ISPs will disagree as this is based on my limited experience. Feel free to share your own experience with internet providers in the DRC.

But in my experience, It is very hard to find adequate speeds when sharing the bandwidth.

Overall, high speed and unlimited internet is a luxury. Most people don’t use smartphones and live offline. Smartphones and streaming is for a tiny portion of the population who needs to be connected 24/7. Things are changing and prices are dropping slowly… But only with telecom operators. Real ISPs (Microcom, Liquid, Standard, DHI, Konnect, etc…) are lagging in speed and reliability.

Examples of speeds (6 Jan 2022) using Fast.com

Vodacom (Dedicated : 1 user)

Vodacom

Liquid Telecom (Shared connection 10 users)

Liquid Intelligent Technologies

Konnect (Shared connection 10 users)

Airtel (Shared connection 10 users)

Comparison

Vodacom had the highest speed, then Liquid.
Lowest unloaded latency was Liquid.
Lowest loaded latency was Liquid
Highest upload speed was Liquid.

Conclusion

If you want speed and reliability, stick with the large telecom providers but at a higher cost and only use it for yourself. If you are in an office, maybe Liquid, United, GBS or Orioncom will do the job. Fiber is somewhat reliable but there are still drops and you may get frustrated. Always have a second line/connection telecom operator as a backup.

Sometimes there are fiber or internet blockages by the government (during elections or riots for example as in 2018 (TV5 Monde article)).

VSAT is sometimes exempt or can bypass the fiber connection break. This pushes some to get a dedicated VSATs or satellite dishes but at a much higher installation and data price!

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