Etisalat eyes expansion in Tansania

Telecom's African unit looks to increase marketshare to as much as 35% by 2011.
Etisalat eyes expansion in Tansania
By Ola Galal
Thu 22 May 2008 10:41 AM

Emirates Telecommunications Corp's (Etisalat) Tanzania unit aims to raise its market share to as much as 35% by 2011 as it benefits from economic growth, a company official said on Wednesday.

Zanzibar Telecom (Zantel), in which the Gulf's second-largest mobile operator has a 51% stake, has about 10% of the market, representing just over 1 million customers, Chief Financial Officer Arthur Hudson told newswire Reuters on the sidelines of a telecom conference in Dubai.

"In the next two to three years, the target is to reach 30 to 35% of mobile market share," Hudson said. "There is huge growth potential in Tanzania with only 20% market penetration."

Hudson said the firm was likely to benefit from a growth in the agriculturally-dominated economy, spurred by the global rise in commodity prices.

Tanzania's smallest operator is fighting to grab market share away from three other service providers operating in the East African country.

Zantel is halfway to completing a $100 million upgrade in its infrastructure that would cover up to 2.2 million customers by 2009, he said.

"When this runs out we're looking to invest an amount in the same neighbourhood ... this will bring the capacity to 5 million customers," Hudson said.

Zantel originated in the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar in 1999 and expanded services to mainland Tanzania only in 2005.

Other operators in the country of about 40 million people, are Vodacom Tanzania, jointly owned by Telkom and Britain's Vodafone, Celtel, a unit of Kuwait's Zain, and Mobitel. (Reuters)

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