Zanzibar Telecom (Zantel), a 51%-owned subsidiary of Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat), hopes to capture as much as 35% of the domestic mobile market by 2011 on the back of rising economic growth in the country, reports Reuters citing a company spokesman as saying. According to Zantel’s Chief Financial Officer Arthur Hudson, the group currently has roughly 10% of the market, equivalent to around a million users, but hopes to increase this to reach 30% to 35% of the market in the next two to three years. ‘There is huge growth potential in Tanzania with only 20% market penetration,’ he said. Hudson went on to say that the operator, currently the smallest Tanzanian cellco by subscribers behind Vodacom, Celtel and MIC Tanzania (Tigo), is halfway to completing a USD100 million network upgrade designed to provide access to 2.2 million customers by 2009. In phase two of the expansion project, Zantel’s CFO said the company would spend a similar amount again to boost network capacity to five million users.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, by the end of March 2008 Vodacom was the largest mobile operator in Tanzania with an estimated four million customers, up from 3.87 million at the start of the year, followed by Celtel Tanzania with 2.59 million, Tigo (1.45 million) and Zantel, with a million. More than nine of out ten Tanzanians are now reported to have access to a mobile phone, even if not one of their own, by using public wireless payphone alternatives such as Vodacom’s People’s Phone service.