Etisalat Tanzania unit eyes 35 percent market share

Telecoms

Etisalat) Tanzania unit aims to raise its market share to as much as 35 percent 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 percent stake, has about 10 percent of the market, representing just over 1 million customers, Chief Financial Officer Arthur Hudson told 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 percent of mobile market share," Hudson said. "There is huge growth potential in Tanzania with only 20 percent 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.

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.

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