Vodacom Group’s subsidiary in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has appealed to the highest administrative court in the country to reverse the potential withdrawal of its 2G telecommunications license. This comes after a directive was issued during April 2019 by Emery Okundji, the DRC's Minister of Telecommunications Minister,  which stated that Vodacom Congo needs to reapply for its 2G license which was initially issued for a 20-year period in 1998 arguing that there was an irregular extension granted during 2015.

Towards the end of May 2019, the DRC's government gave Vodacom Congo a one month grace period to apply to renew the license.

"There are ongoing discussions with all the relevant authorities to resolve this unfortunate situation," said Byron Kennedy, Spokesperson for Vodacom.

Vodacom Congo 2G license dispute

On Monday 10 June 2019 the first hearing of Vodacom Congo’s complaint against the DRC's Telecommunications Ministry took place in Kinshasa. According to Jules Ekatou, the tribunal’s head clerk, the court’s judges were still deliberating at the time and will give instructions on 17 June 2019 on how the case should proceed.

It's expected that if the directive is not reversed it will affect approximately 11,8 million Vodacom Congo customers who are yet to switch to 3G or 4G services or live in areas where such faster data services are not yet available.

Okundji has been contesting Vodacom Congo’s 2G license extension since he became the DRC's Minister of Telecommunications in 2017. Should Vodacom Congo decide to renew the 2G licence, it will have to pay $65 million, the renewal price which is determined by the Ministry of Telecommunications.

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