Tanzanian telecoms group Excellentcom, trading as HiTS Tanzania, has signed a USD180 million contract with China’s Huawei Technologies for the supply of a nationwide network that should carpet the country within 13 months. Dar es Salaam-based newspaper The Citizen quotes HiTS Tanzania chief executive Gerhard May as saying ‘We are determined to undertake the fastest rollout plan in East Africa’s mobile communication history’. HiTS is looking to roll out a network with capacity for an initial two million customers, he said. HiTS Tanzania is 65%-owned by HiTS Africa, the African telecoms investment arm of the Kuwait-based HiTS Telecom Holding KSC, and local investor Jitco and Excelsys hold the remainder (35%).
The newcomer says it was awarded licences for national network facilities, national network services and national application services from the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) in September 2007. It hopes to provide a range of voice and data services based on wireless communication technologies and plans to invest USD500 million over five years, creating 500 jobs in the process. HiTS Tanzania is the seventh firm to enter the country’s mobile/wireless telecoms market. It will compete with Vodacom Tanzania, Celtel Tanzania, Tigo, Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited, Zantel and Benson Informatics Online (BOL).
HiTS Africa is also rolling out mobile networks in a number of other African markets using GSM technology and has licences in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea, as well a share of Atlantic Telecom in Liberia. Although the Tanzanian mobile market currently numbers eight million users, around four-fifths of the population do not own a mobile phone. HiTS Tanzanian believes the market will grow to between 15 and 18 million users by 2015 and wants to secure a 15% market share in the medium term.