Sasktel International of Canada has been awarded a three-year contract by the government of Tanzania to assume management control of national PTO the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL). The new management will take over from 1 July 2007 and be responsible for all the Tanzanian firm’s operations, maintenance and expansion in order to improve its financial, commercial and technical performance. In a statement the government said: ‘The decision to put TTCL under an independent management was reached by its shareholders — the government and the Celtel International — who agreed that this was the best strategy to make TTCL operate more efficiently in the prevailing free market economy.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, TTCL is Tanzania’s primary provider of fixed line services but its record on providing access has been poor and it faces stiff competition from the country’s mobile operators. By the end of 2006 around 250,000 lines had been installed, with connections concentrated in the urban areas and a few semi-rural communities, but only around 160,000 were lines in service, representing a teledensity of just 0.4%. By contrast the nation’s four mobile operators — Vodacom Tanzania, Celtel Tanzania, MIC Tanzania (which operates under the brand name Tigo) and Zantel — collectively reported 5.59 million customers at the end of 2006, a cellular penetration rate of 14.6%, up from 3.40 million users the previous year.