TELECOMS

Five More Cellular Companies Licensed in Tanzania

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has licensed five more mobile phone companies. They are MyCell, Egotel, Rural Netco, Smile and ExcellentCom. "They are expected to enter the country's communication industry when the process to give them network facility licensees is completed," TCRA director-general John Nkoma told a recent ICT Summit in Dar es Salaam.

The latest registration brings to 12 the number of cellular companies. Others are Zain Tanzania, Tigo, Zantel, Benson Informatics, Sasatel, Vodacom Tanzania and TTCL Mobile, which had a subscriber base of about 17.4 million customers in December 2009. Vodacom was leading by having a market share of 39 per cent.

Experts see the entry of new players into the market as healthy because it will increase competition, improve services and probably reduce charges. Many people complain about inordinately high service charges. However, TCRA statistics show that service charges declined from about Sh350 in 2000 to slightly above Sh200 at the end of last year.

Tanzania's mobile phone market was sluggish in the first half of 2009, but it strengthened in the fourth quarter. A report has shown that the growth trend was largely aided by subscriber growth from Vodacom, Zain and Tigo.

Vodacom's subscriber base widened from 6,263,424 in September to 6,883,661 in December while that of Zain rose from 4,763,505 to 4,910,359.
That of Tigo increased from 3,755,459 users to 4,178,089 during the same period.

"Intense competition has helped to expand the market...Much of the strength in operators' subscriber figures is due to a reduction in tariffs, not only in response to stiff competition, but also as a result of deteriorating disposable income on account of weak economic conditions," the report reads.

"Zain reduced its tariffs by up to 50 per cent on calls made to a favourite phone number on another network in the country and by 17 per cent for all other calls to other networks." It forecast the local mobile penetration rate to reach 77.6 per cent as of 2014.

Source: The Citizen

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