TANZANIAN MONPOLOY ENDS FOR TTCL AS ZANTEL HEADS FOR THE MAINLAND
The Tanzanian incumbent's monopoly ended on Tuesday last week as the country's industry regulator announced it was ready to hand over a licence to a competitor this week. Industry insiders said plans were ready to allow more players into the field. The Tanzania Telecommunication Company (TTCL) was granted exclusivity in the provision of fixed-line and international gateway services on mainland Tanzania in 2001, when the company was privatised.
"This new opportunity opens up the sector and we are ready to licence more operators if they meet the conditions," said John Nkoma, director general of the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA).
"We need credible and efficient operators and people with viable technical and business plans. We have quite a number of enquiries, but it would not be appropriate to name names."
He said the regulator would hand Zantel, a mobile and fixed-line service provider on the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, a licence to operate on the mainland on Wednesday. "Zantel is operating a fixed and mobile service and the licence will now extend the geographic coverage to the mainland," he said.
The east African country's four mobile phone service providers had a combined 1.9 million subscribers by the end of 2003. The number of fixed-line customers dropped to 148,360 in 2003 from 199,110 the year before.
TCRA said four companies that had laid a network of optical fibre systems for internal communications would now be allowed to use them commercially once they receive a permit.